17 Actual Useful Tips for Mardi Gras

17 Actual Useful Tips for Mardi Gras

by Antwan Davidavich

So I see all these lists on Facebook. Top 10 this, Top 15 that. It’s all a bunch of bullshit written by amateur bloggers who think anybody gives a fuck what they think. The ones about New Orleans are especially obnoxious cause they were written by some loser from Montana that’s been to Carnival three times and can tell you not to piss on someone’s front lawn. No shit. What do we look like? A bunch of heathens. You wouldn’t piss on your neighbor’s lawn in Billings, why would you do it here? If you want 17 Actual Useful Tips for Mardi Gras, get them from an actual local.

Useful Tip #1: Mardi Gras is a Day

Hanging out on a balcony on Mardi Gras Day

Mardi Gras is a day, not a month. Carnival is a month. If you want to come down for Carnival and leave before Mardi Gras, that’s your fucking problem. We celebrate Mardi Gras on a Tuesday when you’re shoveling your driveway out of six inches of snow and picking ice off your windshield so you can get to your damn Starbucks. Fat Tuesday (aka Mardi Gras), get it? It’s on a Tuesday. And if you can’t take off work and stay through Ash Wednesday, then you’re doing it all wrong. Mardi Gras is the pinnacle of carnival season and it’s a spectacle like nothing else you’ve ever seen before. Yes, it’s worth it.

Useful Tip #2: Leave Your Kids At Home

Barkus is a great parade for the kids. Mardi Gras is not.

There’s a place for kids at Carnival. There’s a whole weekend dedicated to kids where you can take them to the Barkus Parade or watch Cleopatra Uptown, or maybe even go out to the Metairie Family Gras if you’re too fucking paranoid to come to the city. But there is no good reason to bring your kids to Mardi Gras. It doesn’t matter how cool your kids are, the day is better without them. Leave them in the hotel room with some snacks and Netflix or leave ’em home altogether. They’ll be a drag on you and force you home early. If you want to really enjoy the day, you need to have your own agenda, not be kowtowing to some pissant 12-year old taking selfies with a tranny hooker on Bourbon Street.

Useful Tip #3: Make Your Own Fucking Coffee

Yeah, that’s right. No self-respecting coffee shop is open on Mardi Gras Day. Even that hipster barista gets off on Fat Tuesday. If you’re Airbnb didn’t come with a fucking Keurig, that’s your problem. Learn how to boil coffee like they did in the old days. You should probably be staying in a hotel anyway. Locals hate those goddamn, ass-pickin’, frat boys coming home drunk with a neck full of beads and a trashy chick from the Westbank hanging on their arms. It’s ruining the neighborhoods.

Useful Tip #4: Let’s Not Go Back to Your Place

That chick or dude you were hooking up with at the bar with the funny Christmas lights on the ceiling, she might like you for your looks or your giant cock. She might also like you for the stack of twenties sitting in your wallet or that AMEX black you’ve been chopping up cocaine with all night. Listen, do not go back to the Westbank with her under any circumstances. I don’t give a rat’s ass if there’s too many dudes in your Airbnb. Too many drunk, unsuspecting tourists have never been heard from again once they crossed the bridge. Trust me, she doesn’t want to wake up on the Westbank any more than you do.

Useful Tip #5: Hydrate, you dumb ass!

Mardi Gras is a long day. If you’re doing it right, you are dressed up in costume at 7:30 in the morning and you are ready to fucking party. You’re either coming from Galactic at Tipitina’s or you got three hours sleep on the floor of your hotel room. Either way, the party starts early. Find yourself a proper Bloody Mary from one of Igor’s fine establishments or carry along some kind of insulated bag with your champagne, and your vodka, and a couple of 16oz. bottles of Smart Water or something with some electrolytes in it. Mardi Gras ain’t for the feint of heart. You need some stamina to make it through the day. Water is your only source of salvation and can be hard to find when you need it.

Useful Tip #6: Bathrooms Aren’t Just for Peeing

Yes, you’ve been advised not to pee in public lest you end up in OPP. That’s good advice. Bars have bathrooms and you need to find one even if it means paying $10 to use it. That’s how businesses make money. And if it’s taking a long time, that because anything could be going on in that toilet. People could be fucking, they could be doing coke off the vanity, smoking weed, changing their costume. Whatever, man. Just leave them be and wait your fucking turn. Seriously. Don’t be that guy that ruins the party. We all have our own ways of having fun. Bathrooms are a big part of it.

Useful Tip #7: That’s a House, Not a Bar, You Fucking Asshole

You want to see a local explode? Go have sex in their bathroom. A friend of a friend invited you to watch the Rex Parade and plied you with beer and crawfish and king cake, gave you a nice spot to watch the parade and a clean bathroom with actual toilet paper to use. And what did you do? You had to sneak into the master bedroom and start getting busy on the fucking bidet. This isn’t a college dorm. This is a nice fucking house with nice fucking owners who deserve a little respect. You want to do them right, show up with a fucking king cake and say please and thank you.

Useful Tip #8: It’s Always Better on Top

A View of the Krewe of Saint Ann

Crowds can get overwhelming on Mardi Gras Day. The Zulu parade can be twenty deep along Jackson and St. Charles. Bourbon Street will be jam-packed with drunk asshole and two-bit hustlers. If you can get on some viewing stands or a balcony in the French Quarter, it’s an amazing reprieve from the crowds below. Bonus points if it comes with alcohol nearby. If you’ve got the money, it might even be worth it to splurge on one of those all-inclusive deals cause open and available restaurants can be hard to find on Mardi Gras Day. But don’t pay $200 for some shitty jambalaya and pasta alfredo. Make sure they got you some actual protein in that all-you-can-eat-buffet. Trust me, you don’t want your next shit to blow up the toilet bowl. Watch what your eating. Make sure that seafood gumbo hasn’t been sitting in a cold chaffing dish all day.

Useful Tip #9: Not All Locals are Cool

Mardi Gras Indians heading to Claiborne

I’m all for going to Claiborne and Orleans on Mardi Gras Day. The Indians are amazing. They are totally worth seeing and they’re a huge part of the carnival experience. The atmosphere is electric and you can even find some good grub off a chargrill on the back of a Dodge pickup. But that dude that just asked you where you got your shoes at is not the person you want to walk you there. Same goes for that doorman who wants to sell you a dime bag of sativa in the “VIP” room. Stick with people you know or people in cool costumes. Bonus points if they can tell you what local high school they went to.

Useful Tip #10: Costumes Are Essential

This is how you do it on Mardi Gras Day

Listen, if you’ve been hanging around the city for a few days and haven’t picked up some costume elements by Tuesday, then you’re doing it all wrong. Anything can be a costume. Remember the old Paper Bag Aints? How hard it is to cut a couple of holes in a fucking paper bag. Wear your feathered boa, your cheap $5 mask you got at the French Market. It don’t matter. The world is different when everyone is looking at you. Mardi Gras is no time to be an introvert. The cooler the costume, the more people you will meet and the more your picture will get taken. Costumes are cool! That is all.

Useful Tip #11: Join a Parade

Krewe of Julu marching downtown

Yep, that’s right. Mardi Gras is the one day you can march with the locals and not pay a dime. That big group of people walking down Royal Street all originated from the same place. They got their own 6-piece brass band and amazing costumes and sometimes some booze to boot. Those people are cool and you are welcome to join them on their walk. If you are commemorating a recently departed, head down to Woldenberg Park and mourn with them as they spread ashes into the Mississippi River. It’s actually quite a spiritual experience. Bonus points to you if you tip the band. They will appreciate it.

Useful Tip #12: The Costume Contest is Legit

The last Bourbon Street Awards just as Coronavirus was taking effect

Somehow in all the madness, the gay bars in the Quarter have managed to throw a stage onto the middle of Bourbon and St. Ann for the annual Bourbon Street Awards. It causes a clusterfuck of traffic in the area from 11am-1pm, but if you can get a good spot, it’s definitely worth seeing. It has everything from Carnival Queen Emcees singing showtunes to massively intricate costumes that take up the entire width of the stage. The crowd is raucous, the energy is delightful, and the whole spectacle is a genuinely good time. It can get really crowded though so show up early and stake out a good spot.

Useful Tip #13: Beads are Useless Now

Those cheap plastic beads with the clown masks that got you a peak at some chick’s tits on Bourbon Street last Friday aren’t worth a penny once Fat Tuesday is over. Give ’em away, leave them in your hotel room, get yourself a cool throw like a coconut from the Zulu King and stash it away somewhere safe. Whatever you want to do with them, you can. But ain’t no one showing you their boobs anymore. That was amateur hour. There are women walking around on Mardi Gras Day with their tits painted like dalmatians. She doesn’t want your fucking beads. And whatever you do, do not touch her. Keep your hands to yourself. Grabbing a girl’s boobs is assault. You can get arrested for that.

Useful Tip #14: Don’t Engage the Christians

By now you’ve seen or heard those fat fucking clowns with their giant crosses and their megaphones trying to poopoo on all the fun. They are hate-mongers and they are there to instigate you into getting arrested. It’s not worth engaging them unless you want to ruin your mojo. Walk the other way.

Useful Tip #15: Drugs are Not Your Friend

Yo, at some point during the day, you are going to have to stop hitting the acid. Have a plan and stick to it. There’s no good reason to be doing drugs for sixteen hours. When the sun is starting to set and you haven’t eaten all day, now’s a good time to grab some grub and start your exit plan. It’s not the time to be doing rails off the back bumper of a police car. That’s some dumbass shit that will get you arrested. Police are looking for reasons to throw people in jail the later it gets. Be smart. Don’t fight. Don’t be disrespectful. Stay in your zone. Don’t overdo it.

Useful Tip #16: Head Over to Frenchmen Street

The party in a Frenchmen Street bar

Yeah, yeah, we know. Frenchmen Street is not what it once was. It used to be cool and low-key and all that. Now it’s a just tourist hipster spot with a fucking Willie’s Chicken Shack where the Praline Connection used to be. But on Fat Tuesday afternoon, the street becomes one big costume party. All the krewes end up down there at some point. There’s live music on the street, in the bars, people are happy, they’re drunk on life. It’s a great place to be from around 3-7, but it can get a little dangerous after dark. Keep to the main street and find a real Uber/Lyft to take you back to your room. It will be $80, but you’ve spent more money than that on dumber shit than this. It’s best to have a reputable ride home.

Useful Tip #17: End Your Night Early

I’m of the opinion that nothing good happens after dark on Mardi Gras Day. Most people have been partying all day long. If they haven’t hooked up by then, they probably ain’t worth hooking up with. Your feet are tired, the drugs have worn off, you’ve seen all the great shit you’re gonna see. It’s time to end the night. You’ll know. Listen to your id. If you’re on Bourbon Street at midnight when the police do their sweep, then you’ve got more problems than you know what to do with. If you want to leave town with a good impression of New Orleans, end your night when the time is right. And maybe most importantly, do not forget to charge your phone or bring an extra charger. You do not want to be walking around at 2am trying to figure out which airbnb is yours. Write your address down and stuff it in your fanny pack.

One Reply to “17 Actual Useful Tips for Mardi Gras”

  1. all good advice. except that uber/lyft/ scab cab thing. call 522-9771. or be prepared to walk home. rule #18- comfy shoes. fat tuesday is not the day to break in those vinyl high heels from blisterville costumes.

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