The air may still be chilly, but a mass of partiers is about to descend upon New Orleans like the end times are coming.
Mardi Gras - my personal Christmas - is this coming Tuesday, February 9.
It’s a terrific party, and a good time to take stock of one’s life (well, maybe Ash Wednesday’s a better day for that). But it can also bring out folks’ inner jerks.
So here are a few tips from a local boy on how not to act like an a**hole during Mardi Gras.
1. This isn’t just your holiday. There are kids around. Act like it. No one wants to explain to their child what the phrases “public intoxication,” “indecent exposure” or “Benghazi emails” mean.
2. Put them thangs away. Unless you want to end up on the cover of Girls Gone Wild, save the clothes-shedding for your late-night mistake in your hotel room.
And all you wannabe-comedian dudes, that joke where you lift up your shirt for beads - you know, like you’re a girl?! - yeah, that's been done. About 10x per night on Bourbon Street. Leave the joke-stealing to Josh Ostrovsky.
Leave the shirtlessness to this guy. — Photo courtesy of Phelan Riessen
3. The cups are free, so use them. Yes, you can drink on the streets of New Orleans. But our feet aren’t indestructible, so the local laws wisely prohibit drinking from glass bottles.
Luckily, one of the most popular throws at most parades are plastic cups. So, you know, use them.
4. Watch that BAL. Speaking of booze, the only thing that should be blackout are your curtains on Wednesday as you sleep off Carnival. Mardi Gras drinking is a marathon, not a sprint. Plan accordingly.
5. There are beads for all. There’s a veritable hurricane of beads, so that one that you and a little kid caught at the same time? Yeah, give it to the little guy. You can buy some in the airport if you’re unhappy with your haul.
Of course, if you’re buying beads in an airport, maybe rethink your priorities.
There are enough beads to go around, so keep your hands to yourself. — Photo courtesy of Bart Everson
6. Spend some damn money. One of the nicest parts of Mardi Gras is how cheap it is. But New Orleans remains a struggling city, so try to toss some greenbacks to the local businesses. You’ll get your money’s worth.
7. If you get the baby, you buy the next King Cake. Them’s the rules. And when in Rome…
8. Feel Old Man Rhythm. This ain’t the town from Footloose. Do yourself a favor and cut loose. Nothing kills a party faster than the guest sulking in the corner.
Just because you wear a mask doesn't mean you can do whatever you want. — Photo courtesy of Loren Javier
9. Basically, if you wouldn’t do at you home, don’t do it in ours. Do you piss on the streets in your city? Do you vomit on your front lawn? Do you throw your trash all over the living room? No? Then don’t do it here, please. After you leave, some of us still live here - and we’ve got to pick it all up.
10. Finally, laissez les bon temps rouler. Mardi Gras is a party, and like any party, there’s no room for any BS. So leave those negative emotions at home and let the good times roll.
There will be crowds; you might get bumped around. Parades will be delayed. Make like a float and roll with it.
Happy Mardi Gras!