My first Mardi Gras experience happened about a month ago. I could have never predicted how it would go, and was pleasantly surprised that some of my worries became obsolete over the five day celebration. Thus, I want to provide some key advice about how to experience Mardi Gras to the fullest. Here are some things I wish I knew as a freshman to help you celebrate in the most rewarding way.
First off, I was told to stock up on food — I was under the impression that everything would be closed, so I ordered an entire grocery store to keep in my room. I wish I was kidding; I hoarded yogurts, peanut butter, granola, rice and pasta packets, crackers, pretzels, and about 7 boxes of granola bars. I recognize that everyone is different; I have some friends who relied solely on the food they stocked up on for the five day bender. However, I didn’t make a dent in my nonperishable foods. Thanks to my meal plan, I ate at the Commons every day; and trust me, I have never enjoyed the Commons more. Although the hours were a little different, I was able to secure a sustainable breakfast, lunch, and dinner whenever I needed it. I still recommend buying snack food, but as for actual meals, remember the Commons will be open and ready to satisfy your cravings.
Secondly, I was weary of the commotion on parade routes. I’ve heard stories of pickpocketing, students losing their possessions, and people getting split up from their friends. I am going to be honest with you: this is possible. Nonetheless, as long as you use a buddy system and hold on tightly to your friends, you are likely to be just fine. I also learned that it is better to keep your important belongings in front of you, so you can see them. I ordered a fanny pack with a pocket on the inside, closest to my body. This is where I put my important belongings. I recommend you have a portable phone charger on you, especially a disposable one that you can throw out after one use. Lastly, make sure to write down names and numbers of your friends on an index card, or even your arm, to have in case your phone dies or is no longer in your possession. These tips are merely precautions, but will be helpful if an uncertain situation arises.
During Mardi Gras, you are in constant motion, so it’s more than possible you forget about getting sufficient sleep and hydration. I recommend napping whenever you have the chance, and carrying a water pouch or bottle around with you everyday. Drinking water helped me remain on my feet and in good spirits until it was time to hit the hay. Not to state the obvious, but, Mardi Gras is long. It is crucial to wear an outfit you feel comfortable and confident in. “Doing you” is essential to enjoying your time out this week.. Funky, but comfortable, clothing is encouraged.
The last tip I want to give you is the one that surprised me the most. It is not that hard to get an Uber during Mardi Gras.. When we were ready to go, my friends and I walked a few blocks off of the parade route, remaining in a populated and identifiable area. We would compare Uber and Lyft prices, and most were on par with the typical range. I never had an issue finding my Ubers, and it was affirming to know I had an “escape plan” if I wanted to leave the scene.
I hope these tips help you for your next Mardi Gras, and if you celebrated this year, remind you of the wonderful memories you made. I am finally signing off from the Mardi Gras content, and look forward to sharing more about my experiences with you all in 337 days… but who’s counting?
Cover photo by: Gyle Israel (The Crescent Graphic Design Team)
Bailey is the Assistant Editor for College Life. She is a Sophomore majoring in Marketing and Management and minoring in Psychology. She loves to write about her experiences and give advice to her peers. When she isn't writing, you can find her at Riley or her favorite New Orleans restaurant Satsuma.