Mardi Gras is definitely one of the booziest times of year in a city that's constantly boozy. But, while New Year's and St. Patty's Day can get pretty hectic on the drinking front, there are quite a few more variables to tackle during Mardi Gras season. Knowing that you're going to spend hours on your feet, how do you make sure that absolutely nothing gets in the way of your Carnival reveling?
The drinking tradition here is to lug around one of those Dad-approved Igloo or Coleman ice chests, filled with bags of ice and plenty of booze. Yet, considering how exhausting that can be, a better, a more 21st-century idea is to invest in a CamelBak. This nifty little drink backpack gives you the freedom to walk around, cooler-less, while getting your alcohol fed directly to you through a small tube. Just make sure to note that unless you change out the reservoir for each different drink, your pack will taste like vodka forever.
For those who don't have a problem with self-consciousness, there is a cheaper, yet more ridiculous option: the BeerBelly and the WineRack. The BeerBelly is an apparatus you attach to the front of your stomach (hence the name) that feeds you alcohol through a tube. The WineRack is essentially a bra that you can fill with alcohol. At the cost of looking more ridiculous, the BeerBelly can hold a whopping 80 ounces, whereas the WineRack lets you be more discreet but holds only 20 ounces.
If you really can't bear the idea of separating from your cooler, however, keep the process efficient by chilling it with a bag of ice and letting it melt. It sounds daft because you'll seemingly be wasting a whole bag of ice. In actuality, though, you can easily waste bags of ice by a cooler that's too warm to maintain a low enough temperature. Prepping your cooler by chilling it is a surefire way to make sure that you don't end up with wet, lukewarm beers. Also, it's probably best to make sure to get a rolling chest, because you'll definitely be lugging it around more often than you think.
To go along with that, other safe bets for your CamelBak or cooler are food and water. And while there definitely won't be any trouble in finding any or both along the parade routes, you'll want to save your cash for beer and restroom access. Keeping yourself well-hydrated and stuffed with food will ensure that your Mardi Gras weekend isn't spent downing ibuprofen.
And to delve further into the bathroom quagmire; you can definitely find free port-a-potties around the parades. But, don't rely on them. Have cash on hand and buy bathroom passes from the places on St. Charles, Napoleon, Canal St. and around the Quarter. Download AirPnP (yes, it's really an app!) and keep track of the best places to use the bathroom. This way, in your drunken stupor, you won't make the mistake of getting caught peeing publicly. The only thing more humiliating than getting arrested is getting arrested with your pants down.
People who've been here for years know how important drinking is to Mardi Gras. With a whole season dedicated to excess up until Lent starts, there's no way we're going to stay sober through most of it. So, hopefully, with these tips you can really streamline that process and make sure you're spending less time lugging around alcohol and more time simply chugging it.