With all the negative publicity New Orleans gets about the unrestrained revelry during its Mardi Gras celebrations, many cities in the South strive to provide a safe, family-friendly alternative.
Alexandria does a good job with their Mardi Gras offerings. There is a separate parade just for children, followed by the main parade the next day.
On Fat Tuesday itself, yet another smaller-scale parade organized by the Krewe of Provine (actually a company that specializes in children's school portraits) is held out on Coliseum Boulevard (the road running parallel to Highway 28 West). It's our personal experience that the Provine parade has the best quality of beads and gifts thrown from its floats. Alexandria saved the best for last in 2005!
I'm told that one does NOT want to go 'off the beaten path' in Alexandria. There are many dangerous neighborhoods and crack houses in certain parts of town. Sorry!