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

Colonel Short's Villa with Cornstalk fence, Garden District.
Stephen Saks / Getty Images

March brings spring weather to New Orleans, meaning the sun is out and the azaleas and bridal wreath are in bloom. The mild weather makes for one of the most comfortable times of year, 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 ends in February, the March crowds are much less extreme.

New Orleans Weather in March

March is a gorgeous month to visit New Orleans. The weather is comfortable, fairly sunny, and pleasantly warm without the oppressive humidity that bogs down the city in the summer. It's easy to walk around during the day in a T-shirt and jeans, and even the evening temperatures are enjoyable for being outside.

  • Average High Temperature: 73 degrees F (23 degrees C)
  • Average Low Temperature: 58 degrees F (14 degrees C)

It typically rains about 4.75 inches in the month of March, so some rain is likely during your trip although it's not as wet and stormy as in the summer. When there is rain in March, it comes in light and short bursts rather than long periods.

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, since some rain is highly possible during your trip.

If you're going to be in town for the festivals, you may want to pack some colorful outfits to dress up for the Mardi Gras parades or 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 by far the biggest celebration in NOLA. The main parade, parties, and festivities are canceled in 2021, but the final day of Mardi Gras in 2022 falls on March 1. Expect lots of colorful costumes, live music, and free-flowing alcohol (in the bars and on the streets).
  • Spring into Action: The free Spring into Action event at Audubon Louisiana Nature Center is the opening event that launches the seasonal Party for the Planet. Local exhibitors 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 features live jazz, blues, and gospel music at the Zoo's Capital One Bank Stage, along with mouthwatering soul food.
  • New Orleans Home & Garden Show: Held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in Halls I and J, this annual event offers seminars and exhibitors about all things related to gardening, plus a Bayou Battle of the Build competition among local high schools. The 2021 Home & Garden show is canceled.
  • St. Patrick's Day: Celebrations take place throughout the days leading up to March 17, with Mardi Gras-style parades, an Irish Channel block party, and a holiday festival throughout the French Quarter. Most St. Patrick's Day festivities are canceled in 2021.
  • St. Joseph's Day: The Italian-American St. Joseph's Day Parade in the French Quarter features floats, marching bands, and more. The holiday falls on March 19 and the parade usually falls on the nearest weekend, but it's canceled in 2021.
  • 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. The 2021 festival is taking place virtually from March 24–28, so you can tune in even if you aren't in New Orleans.
  • The Buku Project: An immersive arts and music festival held in March, this event features genres including electronic dance music, hip-hop, indie rock, and more. However, the 2021 Buku Project is canceled and organizers plan to return in March 2022 for the 10-year anniversary.
  • Spring Fiesta: Enjoy a cultural springtime tradition in New Orleans. 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. In 2021, event organizers have canceled the Spring Fiesta.
  • Top Taco: 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. In 2021, the Top Taco event is canceled.

March 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 around and exploring, but travelers can also take buses, ferries, streetcars, and rideshares. Be prepared for ridesharing vehicles to have surge pricing during large events like Mardi Gras.

For more travel tips on visiting the Big Easy, read about the best time to visit New Orleans.

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