Photos by Finn Turnbull
Pace Yourself- During Mardi Gras, the alcohol and food seem abundant and many people are more likely to indulge heavily. Try to remember to pace yourself so you can actually see the parade and you don’t end up passing out before noon. Be sure to eat starchy foods to help absorb the alcohol, and try to have at least one semi-sober person around as a chaperone.
Where Am I?- Since Mardi Gras is known for having huge crowds, it’s a good idea to tattoo name, address info, and contact number on your friends, kids, and self with a Sharpie marker on a non-smudging part of your body. This way if anyone gets lost, especially your drunk friends from out of town, they can easily find a means of contacting you or getting a ride home.
Ain’t No Place to Pee- Scout out and even map out your bathroom facilities along the parade route. Some places of business sell “peeing passes”, whereas others require you to purchase a drink. Either way, it’s always better to have your facilities mapped out before you set up camp or take the streets.
Safety First- Remember not to get up too close to the floats and cars in the parade, as the drivers can’t always see you in their blind spots, nor can they stop immediately because someone ran out to get a bead in the middle of the street. Also try to resist walking with someone else on your shoulders, as this is the easiest way to bust up yourself and the person on top of you, as most people end up tripping on broken beads and then slamming themselves into the concrete street.
Be Kind to the Police- The guys and gals in blue do a great job during Mardi Gras and work extra-long hours keeping the crowds under control, so be sure to give these guys a break and let them know that we do appreciate them. Before crossing the street during a parade, get the officers’ attention and ask first; don’t just do it, or they’ll send you right back. It’s also a good idea to carry extra soft drinks or bag of chips and offer them to our friends in blue during the parades. A nice genuine gesture of kindness can always make someone’s day, and also add to the friendly parade atmosphere.
Go with the Flow- Basically, don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s Mardi Gras, and people are drinking, eating, and behaving wildly, letting their hair down until Lent. Sometimes during situations, comments can be taken out of context, and frankly, no one wants to see some soap opera drama being re-enacted down the parade route. Save it for when you’re indoors and don’t disrupt everyone else’s good time.
Toys are for Kids- Females ages 16-30, especially those in college: I beg you to give the stuffed toys to the kids around you, and keep the big beads to yourself. If you’re getting them for your kid or your friend’s child, that’s one thing; but nothing shows how classless you are until you jump in front of a little child and grab a stuffed toy away from them.
Share the Wealth- The best way to get through Mardi Gras and make new friends is simply to share the wealth. There are tons of goods flying off the floats, so sharing/trading beads or cups with those around you will always help you get the throws you really want this season. This theory also applies to the coveted Zulu Coconut.
Parade Territory- No one owns the neutral ground or sidewalk, but at the same time, stragglers should respect that people have camped out all day to reserve a good spot. If you’re crossing the street momentarily to catch a friend on a float, be sure to tell the people you’re in front of, and normally they’ll help you get your friend’s attention.
If You’re Going to Flash, Wear A Mask- In the day and age of cameras being EVERYWHERE, your little drunken moment of fun-filled bliss may just be the next YouTube video of grand embarrassment. We at WYAT do not encourage such behavior, but at the same time, we’re always good for having a camera around at just the right moment.