What Every Man Needs to Know.

It’s Mardi Gras season and there’s plenty of fun to be had, but it helps to have a little knowledge before you hit the streets.

  1. Be smart. Crime is an unfortunate reality, so use street smarts.
  2. Arrive early. Mardi Gras is so much more than just a single day, usually with the biggest parades and parties starting the weekend before Fat Tuesday.
  3. Be crowd-savvy. Avoid carrying your wallet in your back pocket. Wear comfy shoes, but save your new sneakers for another trip — they may not look so new after a few Mardi Gras parades.
  4. Don’t urinate in the street. This is a one-way ticket to Central Lockup. Cops will put up with a lot of boundary pushing — underage drinking, lewd behavior, public drunkenness — but public urination is where they draw the line.
  5. Eat something. If you don’t want to be passed out before the first float has gone by, fortify your stomach beforehand. Start the morning with an order of beignets, have a big lunch, and if you’re going to have dinner, call ahead.
  6. Know the krewe. Certain krewes throw specialty items that are exclusive to their parade. And you haven’t experienced Mardi Gras unless you’ve been to a couple of parades.
  7. Don’t yell “show your …” to anyone, anywhere. Not on Bourbon Street, not on St. Charles, not in New Orleans, not in Italy, not ANYWHERE! It’s not cool, and we all know you have more self-respect than that.
  8. Watch your mouth. Parades are not designed for you to exercise prolific profanity.
  9. Don’t pay money for beads. There will be plenty of free stuff to be had from the floats. Save your money for food and alcohol.
  10. Wake up early on Fat Tuesday. Better yet, don’t go to sleep Monday night. Those cities that do have parades on Fat Tuesday start pretty early — usually at 8 A.M.
  11. If you’re in New Orleans, try and venture outside the French Quarter. Of course you’re going to want to spend at least a few hours at Ground Zero to see all the debauchery that goes on. But Mardi Gras is a citywide party and should be enjoyed accordingly.
  12. Pace yourself. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
  13. Behave. Those who are arrested in New Orleans between Friday and Tuesday don’t get released until Ash Wednesday.