Visit the French Quarter
Before the festival starts, spend some time one morning in the French Quarter. While there, check out the French Market, which was not open last year at this time. It is full of vendors selling everything from fresh produce and candles to T-shirts and Mardi Gras masks.
One block away from the French Market is Café du Monde. Order their specialty breakfast: chicory café au lait with beignets, and be sure to dip them in the coffee.