There's an App For That...

Kevin Allman on all the ways you can get Mardi Gras on your smartphone

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One of the biggest advantages to having a smartphone during Mardi Gras is the ability to keep a Carnival guide at your fingertips at all times — a guide that doesn't need to be rolled up and shoved in your pocket. This year you've got several choices, each of which has something the others don't — so try out as many as you like. All but one are free:

• WWL-TV and Zehnder Communications have developed Experience Mardi Gras, which has all major parade schedules (they added Jefferson Parish and outlying parades after requests from Gambit readers), along with zoomable route maps, Mardi Gras headlines and club listings. Some parades will be trackable by GPS. Free; iPhone, Android

• WDSU-TV is back with its Parade Tracker app, which provides real-time location of the lead float for all Uptown parades, as well as Argus in Metairie. Parade information comes from Arthur Hardy's Mardi Gras Guide, and this app also coordinates with WDSU's Carnival Twitter feed, @parades. Free; iPhone

• The Mardi Gras Party Guide is sponsored by PJ's Coffee (and gives users a chance to win some of the roaster's annual King Cake Blend). It has a parade schedule, restaurant and bar listings and Twitter and Facebook integration. It also allows users to upload their own photos and videos to share. Free; iPhone, Android, BlackBerry

• Arthur Hardy's Mardi Gras Guide was voted Best Local Mobile App in Gambit's online 2010 Web Awards. Unlike the others, it's not free, but it's meaty, with much of the same content as Hardy's annual magazine, including a large section for first-time Mardi Gras revelers. It also integrates with WDSU-TV Carnival updates. $4.99; iPhone — Kevin Allman


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