I think I picked the worst month to visit New Orleans: The month of July.
When I booked my trip there, I did not realize that July is when many iconic experiences of the Crescent City completely stop for the month. Crawfish season is over, second line parades do not pick up again until August, and many more activities cannot be fully enjoyed as a result of the heat and excessive rain.
Despite these downfalls, I still had an awesome time in NOLA.
During our stay in New Orleans, the temperature was around 92°F (~33°C) with high humidity. We accepted that we would be getting sweaty exploring New Orleans streets by foot.
There are plenty of ways to cool down, though. You can wait for a rain storm—it's probably not far off.
Alternatively, head over to Ace Hotel. Ace Hotel is fairly new and the talk of town with its rooftop pool that is free and open to all. Yes, ma'am!
It's Hurricane Season
Hurricane season in the south-eastern United States runs from June through November. It peaks in Late July, August, and September.
This means thunderstorms and tropical storms are also more likely during this period.
Jono and I did not go one day without running into rain. On one hand, the rain put a literal damper on our day. On the other hand, we were happy that the rain often broke the heat.
The worst rain we experienced was an insane 2-hour downpour that prevented our visit to the Ace Hotel rooftop pool. That was a bummer.
Even still, I feel lucky we didn't get caught in anything more serious. We were in New Orleans only a couple of weeks before nearby Baton Rouge experienced terrible flooding, causing thousands to be homeless.
Crawfish Are Out of Season
Crawfish season is March through June. While you can get crawfish off-season, it most likely won't be from Louisiana. And they'll be smaller than during peak season.
The ones Jono and I had at the Three Legged Dog were medium-sized and technically from Mississippi (right over the border).
They were still delicious—but we were also very lucky to find a place doing an authentic crawfish boil. We had pretty much given up on finding it until we came across their street advertisement. It's generally a hard find in the month of July.
No Second Lines
There was tons of music all over New Orleans happening all day, every day. But New Orleans is famous for its second line parades with their blaring brass instruments. They usually happen multiple times a week from August to June.
Yes. July is literally the ONLY MONTH they don't do them.
For some reason, the second line schedule we found had absolutely no parades scheduled for July. We figured this might be another effect of the heat, but August is just as hot (if not hotter!).
I never did find a Nawlinser who could explain it to me.
No Mardi Gras Parade
New Orleans is, perhaps, most well-known for its Mardi Gras parade. This parade occurs toward the end of February each year.
Despite this fact, you can still visit New Orleans and get a taste of Mardi Gras. Honestly, it's everywhere. The party that Mardi Gras brings is easily experienced every night in the French Quarter.
Everywhere you walk around the city you'll spot beads strewn about or people selling them. They were thrown at us on Bourbon Street on our first night in town!
Head to the garden district and look closely at the trees lining the streets where you'll spot the remnants of Mardi Gras' past. Thousands of beads hang from live oak tree branches along St Charles, mimicking the Spanish moss draped alongside it.
Alternatively, If you're starved for some Mardi Gras history and art, then visit Mardi Gras World! There's a free shuttle back and forth from the French Quarter. Call 504-475-2053 or consult this map and this one for pick-up locations.
Jono and I had fun on our visit to Mardi Gras World—even just hanging around in the gift shop!
Still, There's Tons To Do
Despite going to New Orleans at possibly the worst time of year, there are still tons of activities to experience in July.
You can also visit the many free parks around town, such as City Park, Audubon Park, Jackson Square, The Fly, Crescent Park, and Armstrong Park. Just remember your umbrella!
Finally, you'll find plenty of other events going on, even if you miss those iconic second lines!