March in New Orleans: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Colonel Short's Villa with Cornstalk fence, Garden District.
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March brings spring to New Orleans, meaning the azaleas and bridal wreath are in bloom and the city looks beautiful. The mild weather is perfect, especially for all the outdoor festivities and celebrations that sweep the city in March. Mardi Gras and St. Patrick's Day are both major events, where thousands of locals and visitors in colorful costumes flood the streets of the French Quarter. But keep in mind that because of these events, you'll have to book far in advance, pay higher airfare and hotel rates, and deal with big crowds of tourists. However, when Mardi Gras falls in February like in 2020, the crowds should be more tolerable.

New Orleans Weather in March

March is a gorgeous month to visit New Orleans. The weather is comfortable, with the average high being 71 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius) and the average low being 56 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius). Although it typically rains about 4.75 inches in the month of March, that's about the same amount of precipitation you'll find throughout the rest of the year. It's one of the windiest months and there are usually about 16 days with sun this month, half of which are partly sunny.

What to Pack

Spring weather in New Orleans is very mild, even in the early season of March. Pack long pants like jeans, comfortable walking shoes, and a light sweatshirt or cardigan. It's a good idea to bring an umbrella and a windbreaker or waterproof jacket. If you're going to be in town for the festivals, you may want to pack some colorful outfits to dress up for the parades and something green for St. Patrick's Day.

March Events in New Orleans

There are many things to do in New Orleans throughout the springtime, but March is particularly packed with events, festivals, and activities.

  • Mardi Gras: This is the biggest celebration in NOLA. The main parade, parties, and festivities will occur on February 25, 2020. Expect lots of colorful costumes, live music, and free-flowing alcohol (in the bars and on the streets).
  • Spring into Action: As part of Party for the Planet presented by Entergy, the free Spring into Action event will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 28, 2020, at Audubon Louisiana Nature Center. Local exhibitors will educate guests on environmental matters, and visitors can check out a night sky demonstration in the Planetarium.
  • Soul Fest at the Audubon Zoo: This event presented by AARP Real Possibilities from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 7–8, 2020, features live jazz, blues, and gospel music at the Zoo's Capital One Bank Stage, along with soul food.
  • New Orleans Home & Garden Show: Held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in Halls I and J on March 27–29, 2020, this 65th annual event will have seminars and exhibitors, plus a Bayou Battle of the Build competition among local high schools.
  • St. Patrick's Day: Celebrations mainly take place on March 17, 2020, with an Irish Channel block party at 1 p.m. and the Downtown Irish Club Parade at 6 p.m., and other events continuing throughout the month and into early April.
  • St. Joseph's Day: The Italian-American St. Joseph's Day Parade in the French Quarter will be held at 6 p.m. on March 21, 2020, featuring floats, marching bands, and more.
  • Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival: Held in the French Quarter since 1986, this is one of the biggest literary festivals in the U.S., designed for readers, writers, theater lovers, and New Orleans fans. It will occur on March 25–29, 2020.
  • The Buku Project: An immersive arts and music festival held on March 20-21, 2020, this event features genres including electronic dance music, hip-hop, indie rock, and more.
  • Spring Fiesta: Enjoy a cultural tradition in New Orleans on March 21–22 and March 28–29, 2020. The festival includes a parade of horse-drawn carriages through the French Quarter and the presentation of the Spring Fiesta Queen and her court at Jackson Square. There are also tours of historic homes and gardens.
  • Top Taco: On March 19, 2020, from 6 to 7 p.m., taco lovers and foodies should head to Woldenberg Park for samples of gourmet tacos and signature cocktails from some top New Orleans restaurants. Proceeds go to The PLEASE Foundation, which offers mentoring, leadership training, and scholarships to at-risk students in the city.

Travel Tips

  • Since March is a popular month to visit New Orleans, reserve your airplane tickets and accommodations far in advance and be prepared for crowds of tourists, especially if Mardi Gras takes place within the month. Restaurants may have long waits as well.
  • Though the weather should be lovely, you can't predict if a light rain might hit, so bring a rain jacket or umbrella along as you venture around.
  • New Orleans is a good city for walking, but travelers can also take buses, ferries, streetcars, and rideshares. Be prepared for Uber and Lyft to have price increases during large events like Mardi Gras.
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