If you go to college anywhere within driving distance of the state of Louisiana, it’s likely that you’re preparing to make the holiest of pilgrimages. You’re heading to Mardi Gras. If you’re a freshman cashing in your Mardi Gras V-Card, you may think a semester of heavy drinking and hard partying has prepared you for what’s to come. Spoiler alert: It has not. As you take part in your first experience in this lawless land, you’re going to see what I’m talking about. But it wouldn’t hurt to take some advice from a veteran, either. Remember, Mardi Gras is a marathon, not a sprint. You have to pace yourself when you’re drinking nonstop all day everyday, and you have to prepare mentally and physically for things to get weird during your downward spiral into debauchery.
Pick Your Poison
Invest in some half decent liquor. Believe me, you will regret that Green Apple Smirnoff that sounded so delicious after you’ve been drinking it for days straight. And despite what the endless billboards on your ride through Louisiana will tell you, Taaka does not mix that well with anything, including people. While the fraternity pledges camped out on the parade route will provide you with dirt-cheap beer you would never drink otherwise (dirt cheap beer you would never drink otherwise crossed out) cocktails galore, you’ll want your own personal
handle beverage if you plan on taking full advantage of your time in the south’s den of sin. You’ll start drinking early each morning (or you won’t ever stop), so your monogrammed flask needs to be ready to pour at all times.
Shacking is Optimal
There’s a reason New Orleans is called The Big Easy. Mardi Gras is the perfect time to shack because there’s no walk of shame involved. The city even holds a parade in your honor the next morning. Embrace this, as it’s the only time that wearing the same costume the morning after is deemed acceptable. While being spotted on campus in the early hours of the morning in a naughty secretary outfit might be mortifying (I maintain that I was having a really professional Saturday morning), you will never have to be ashamed of repeating last night’s ensemble during Mardi Party. It’s totally expected for you to re-rock your gold glitter leggings and matching eye shadow. However, be sure you choose your Mardi Gras boyfriend wisely, a difficult task when you’ve had a Diesel drive-thru daiquiri, a hand grenade, and a margarita with enough tequila to tranquilize a horse. Pick a boy who’s crashing close to the route, because it makes it much easier to drag your still drunk self to the parades the next day.
Baring it for Beads
Going to the French Quarter during Mardi Gras is like going to Disney World as a little kid, except it’s better, and you’re drunk. If you’re looking for a ride into the depravity that is downtown, hop in a stranger’s pick-up truck. I promise, it’s (kind of) normal. Once you’re on Bourbon Street, nudity is encouraged by the city. You may spot bare naked bros dancing on a bar (you never know what you’ll find in the gayborhood), an old lady donning a painted body mural as clothing (take a picture with her so you remember after all those Hurricanes), or a girl covered in nothing but gold glitter riding a bicycle (don’t worry, she’s wearing pasties for protection). Bourbon Street is the only place where it’s actually acceptable to bare it all for beads, so go crazy if you must, but beware of the cameras. After all, though you want to have the best vacation of your life, it could get weird when your kids catch you on Girls Gone Wild infomercials years later. Plus, most beads are readily accessible if you just flash a smile. What happens in New Orleans doesn’t always stay there, especially if there’s a camera flash capturing your own personal flash.
Here’s the secret to Mardi Gras: You can do anything you want with little-to-no consequence. There’s never any judgment, because someone in your general vicinity is sure to be getting weirder than you are. The only activity strictly prohibited is mistaking the streets for your own
personal urination station mysterious place where sorority girls go in groups. You may think this is vulgar advice, because you are a lady who could never imagine making this particular mistake, but when you’ve been drinking for hours on end, life can get kind of rough. Keep in mind the locations of fraternity porta-potties so that you’ll never have to skip a parade for a night at the police department, and you’re sure to have the best Mardi Gras of your life.