Comfortable shoes or sturdy sandals. It always rains one weekend, so you may be sloshing through the mud. Some folks bring rain boots for those days - I say don't bother. Big hat to block the sun. For women, wear a skirt rather than shorts - makes it easier to use the portalets, and you don't have to worry about the fabric sticking to you.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sun screen, for sure. Aspirin is a good idea, since you will be in the sun all day (unless you stay in the Blues or Gospel tents). Pain reliever, for being on your feet.
Photo Equipment: DEFINITELY bring a camera to record your adventure. You never know who you will see - special guests on the stage, and celebrities taking in the music right beside you.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Tents, staked umbrellas, and coolers are not allowed. You can bring an umbrella chair, but if you are moving around a lot, it's not really worth it. Bring a blanket or wrap to throw on the grass and you are set!
Luggage and bags:
Depending on your method of transportation, appropriate baggage will be an issue here. If you are driving, or taking a taxi, your luggage should be fine, but if you are using public transportation, I would advise to pack light, as the streets of New Orleans do not lend themselves to easy rolling of most larger suitcases.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: During November, we literally experienced the highs and lows of the temperature gauge. In the morning, it was brisk and misty, in the afternoon bright, warm and sunny, and in the evening, as the sun went down, it was like someone instantly turned off the heat. I went from short sleeves and shorts at 4pm to being very cold at 4:30pm. I would highly recommend a windbreaker for the daytime, and possibly a full jacket in the evenings. In the middle of a day at 70 degrees, shorts felt good, but the days I wore jeans I felt much better!
Definitely bring layers and a strong pair of walking shoes that you don't want anymore. Trust me - after tromping through the French Quarter, with the spilled beer, sick people, and sick PEE-ple, you won't want to pack them back in your luggage... Parkas are sold in the shops for about $3, in case you forget to pack one.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring some aspirin, to get you over the hangover, and some pain reliever, because after several nights of revelry and being on your feet, and reaching above your head for throws, you will be working muscles that aren't used to being worked!
Photo Equipment: DEFINITELY bring a camera - besides the beautiful floats and elaborate costumes, this is a freak show you will want to remember!
Miscellaneous: Mardi Gras can fall anywhere from February 3 to March 9, and even then I've worn everything from layers of sweaters under a parka holding an umbrella, to shorts and tank top on Mardi Gras Day.
Mostly I had brought umbrellas and warm clothes for this visit. It was in February and the weather was very cold. When I got to New Orleans the weather was perfect! Not too hot and not too cold! I layered up like I do in most places because the weather changes so much. In the early morning hours in was chilly, then it got warm then chilly again. It did rain one day that we were here but not much. Other times of the year it gets very hot and humid so find out what the weather is like before your trip and take it from there.
Photo Equipment: Bring your camera and tons of memory cards because there are so many photo opportunities here! I am sure that if you lost or forgot your camera there are places to buy the things you need around here but I am not sure where. I brought my own and I took between 650-700 pictures!
Miscellaneous: Bring good walking shoes because if you are anythng like us, you will probably do alot of walking. Walking is also the best way to explore the city. Make sure you bring some somewhat dress attire for when you eat out. Some places in New Orleans restaurants have dress codes.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If you’re heading to Mardi Gras forget about dressing nice, especially your bottom half. The city is extremely filthy during Mardi Gras and street is covered in sludge, which is made up of ***, puke and excrement (among other things). Long pants are a must and shoes that cover your feet, no open toes for the love god! I wore the same pants and socks and shoes every day. Yeah, it sounds gross, but what are you gonna do, ruin all your cloths so you can look clean for all of 5 minutes? Beside you won’t care too much after a few drinks. If it really bothers you that much try this, start drinking in your hotel room before you get dressed. That way, you’ll be half in the bag and won’t care!
Luggage and bags:
A backpack with wheels is your FRIEND if you are not planning on spending all your time on Bourbon Street. It's great to stash purchases, extra clothes (because sometimes those nighttime parades get COLD), snacks, beads...I went without one last year and ended up buying one at the French Market.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: A mini-umbrella and/or cheap fold-up rain poncho are good to have. Parades in the rain just aren't as much fun if you're drenched from the skin out.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: For a hardcore parade-goer, one of those fabric fold-up chairs is essential. Trust me, it's MUCH better than sitting on the curb or standing up nonstop for several hours. After the parade high wears off, those feet will HURT.
Shoes will really get dirty, I threw all of mine away, so covered in crap. Comfy walking shoes, lots of standing and walking. No need for stilettos here!
Miscellaneous: Rain gear, umbrella (light) and poncho. I froze in march, it was so much colder than I thought. I wore turtlenecks, long pants socks and sneakers with an overcoat, something for fall. Bring heavier jackets.
This is a top-tip for Mardi Gras revellers. Not only is an air-horn bloody loud, but people love it and it certainly gets attention from the crowds!
Also useful for alerting friends to where you are. Don't forget the refill canisters. An air-horn costs about GBP£8 and canisters 3 or 4 on top. I got mine from a marine shop in Covent Garden, London - but check out the internet.
Luggage and bags:
Lock it up with a pad lock folks. No joke.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Take some crapy clothes with you. Then replace them with new cool new ones you buy alone the way. Donate you old ones to a hostel.
Miscellaneous: And of coarse theres this old one: “Lay out all the clothes you want to take with you. Take out half the clothes and double your money and you should be fine.”
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Pack warm clothes - we don't prepare for the cold season, so alot of our restaurants can even be chilly. It can get really damn cool, boo.