The Beginner’s Guide to Mastering Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras season has officially begun and has brought its colorful vibrancy back to New Orleans. While thoughts of beads and king cakes dance through upperclassmens’ heads, many new students are wondering exactly what to expect when the festivities commence. Although arguably the best weekend at Tulane, Mardi Gras can be overwhelming for some. With these tips and tricks, every Tulanian can have a fun and safe Mardi Gras. 

1. Fill up your pack.

Whether you’re sporting a Forever 21 fanny pack or designer backpack, make sure you’re stuffing it with the essentials. Bring protein-rich snacks, ibuprofen, and a portable phone charger to fuel your day. You should also write down your friends’ numbers on a piece of paper in case you get separated from the group with a dead phone battery.  

2. Leave your credit card at home.

Avoid blowing your monthly budget by paying with cash. You’ll be less tempted to overspend if you can easily see how much money you have left. Visit an ATM before the weekend starts so you’ll have your spending money ready. 

3. Nail down transportation.

While piling into a fraternity’s U-Haul van to travel back and forth from parades is an adventure, it’s not for everybody. With the city’s population tripling in size during Mardi Gras, Ubers and Lyfts can be sparse. Ask your next driver if they’ll be working over Mardi weekend and get their personal phone number to make sure you always have a ride to St. Charles.

4. Stay hydrated.

In all the excitement of the weekend, you may skip out on your daily eight glasses on water. In fact, you may forget to have any. Make sure to keep hydrated, especially if you’ll be drinking. Load up on free waters from the Boot to ensure you’re staying healthy throughout the day.  

5. …But always find a bathroom.

Fun fact: you can get arrested for public urination during Mardi Gras. While it might not seem like a big deal to pop-a-squat behind a bush at a parade, you could land in jail until the following Wednesday. Use the bathroom whenever you can or wait in line for the port-a-potty. It may seem annoying, but it’s necessary.

6. Update your phone background.

In case you lose your phone at any point, change your lock screen to an “if lost” note. Write down your name and a few of your friends’ phone numbers in Notes and make it your background. It may end up saving your phone!

7. Share your location.

Add as many people as you can to Find My Friends so that you and your friends can keep track of each other. Make sure everyone’s safe by checking the app often, especially before leaving a party. It will also save you from a lot of “where are you?” texts.

8. Go at your own pace.

Mardi Gras is a long, energy-demanding weekend that can take a lot out of you. There’s no shame in missing a parade if you need a break. It’s much better to take care of yourself than to burn out too quickly.  

By following these tips, you’ll be well-prepared for Mardi Gras and all of its craziness. Make the most of it by staying healthy and safe throughout the weekend—you’re guaranteed to have a lot more fun!

COVER PHOTO: Nicole Kaufman

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