Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a rite of passage for a lot of people. It is just one of those things you HAVE to do before you die. It’s one of the biggest parties in the world, and it takes place right before the time of Lent. The date is never fixed, so make sure you find out when Mardi Gras starts for the year you want to go. After that, it’s time to start planning. Here are some tips to make your Mardi Gras trip one to remember.
New Orleans is not a big city, and hotel rooms are limited. Given that Mardi Gras is such a huge draw for tourists, hotel rooms can be booked really quickly. Save yourself a lot of trouble and disappointment by booking your hotel well in advance. It may sound weird, but you may want to consider booking even a year ahead of time. You can also investigate short term apartment rentals, or renting a room in someone’s house. Since you won’t be doing much in your room but sleeping, it doesn’t really need to be fancy.
Mind Your Manners
It might seem like anything goes during Mardi Gras, and it often does, but there are a few rules that are pretty strictly enforced. The first one is this- no glass on the street. Bars and restaurants will give you plastic cups so you can take your drink with you when you go. If you take a glass bottle of any kind onto the streets of the French Quarter, the chances are good that a cop will spot you and confront you about it. Usually if you simply throw it in the rubbish can, they’ll let you go. But if you try to argue about how you don’t want to part with you half-gone beer, you might spend the night in jail. No joke.
Also, contrary to what you might think, public nudity is illegal. Find another way to get your beads.
It’s common knowledge that big crowds make criminals’ jobs that much easier. Throw alcohol into the mix and Mardi Gras in New Orleans can be a dream for people of questionable character. Know your surroundings, watch out for your friends and ask that they do the same for you, and try not to get so drunk that someone can take advantage of you. Easier said than done, I know. But we all know that alcohol can cause otherwise normal people to do some strange things, so just watch your back.
Attend a Parade
Mardi Gras is not just about drinking yourself silly and walking up and down Bourbon Street. One of the best parts of Mardi Gras is the parades. These usually take place uptown, so hop on the streetcar and go. It’s a lot of fun to see the floats that are a year in the making, the marching bands, and all of the other things that go into a great parade. You can drink there as well, so don’t worry.
Keep these things in mind and you’re bound to have a fun and safe Mardi Gras. Enjoy!