We are planning to have a group of 10-20 friends (gay & gay-friendly in our 20s) go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras 2008. So far, it seems the best bet is to rent a house and I'm looking into that. Can anyone give me some guidance about the balls? I saw some info on gay krewes that host balls "by invitation only". Will one or two women in the group stick out like sore thumbs? Are they where we want to be, and if so, how do we go about getting in? Or are their other festivals/parties? None of us has ever been to Mardi Gras before, so any guidance about what we absolutely MUST do is much appreciated! Thanks in advance!