One of the single greatest weekends of the year, during which it’s socially acceptable to do pretty much anything, is undoubtedly the non-stop party that is Mardi Gras. The action on Bourbon Street is pretty much around the clock, and once you start, there is no going back. If you’re anything like me, your weekend probably looked a little like this.
Friday, 5:00AM – You and all of your besties load up your car and get an early start in order to make it to NOLA in time to start day-drinking until the sun sets. It sucks to be up so early, but your shotgun sister DJs to keep you awake. As soon as you’re sure Chick-Fil-A is open, your caravan stops to load up on what is probably the last meal you’ll remember for a while.
Friday, 12:00PM – After driving through the back roads of Mississippi and Louisiana, seeing enough trailer parks to make you question whether you’re still in the United States, you and the five cars you’re traveling with finally cross that ridiculously long bridge that leads into the city. After leaving your car on the side of a questionable road in the Garden District of New Orleans, you all cab over to your hotel. It’s located in the French Quarter and you were lucky enough to snag it months in advance for the mere price of a pair of Louboutins. Unfortunately, upon checking in, you realize that the management is wise to the fact that you’re trying to cram 20 people into one hotel room. You are only given two room keys to split among a huge group of sorority girls. This will be awesome when you’re drunk, separated, and have lost your phones.
Friday, 3:00PM – After spending a brief three hours freshening up (admit it, that car ride had you looking rough), your hair is curled, your boots are on, and you and your sisters are ready to go. You aggressively pound shots to something by Ke$ha, and everyone promises to stick with a buddy. You head to the first bar and you’re already catching the run-of-the-mill beads that anyone can get for doing nothing when you see your first flasher. You decide not to become one of them, because you’re way too classy. Random boys buy you hand grenades and hurricanes and you party with people from your school.
Friday, 10:00PM – You black in alone in the projects on Canal Street. Apparently you’ve been texting a whole slew of people, including your hookup back at school who didn’t make it down to NOLA. After hailing a cab as quickly as possible, you get back to your hotel and reconvene with your group. You change into night-appropriate attire as you pregame. You’ve collectively sacrificed a few of your belongings to the vodka gods, but no one is phased by the debauchery yet. Everyone swears to stay together.
Friday 10:30PM – Sufficiently drunk again, your group makes it to Pat O’Brian’s, where every college student in the city seems to have flocked. Two of you drunkenly decide to pretend to have Australian accents, convincing about half of the people you come into contact with. Boys buy your drinks at twice the rate they do during a usual night out. Your best guy friend confesses that he loves you and intends to marry you. Naturally, you make out with his friend instead.
Saturday 4:00AM – You make it to Café du Monde with three others, where you proceeded to drunchie on beignets. You try desperately to contact the girls with room keys only to realize one went home with a rando and the other lost her phone. Desperate for help, you call the guy you just rejected. He rescues you and your friends, letting everyone sleep in his hotel room.
Saturday 10:00AM – Eager to escape the cramped conditions, you head back to your hotel as soon as the girl with the room key is located. Upon your return, you quickly primp and eat a breakfast consisting of animal crackers and vodka before heading back out.
Saturday 2:00PM – After seeing your first parade and drunkenly eating Cajun food, you discover the miracle that is wine slushies. You are now addicted to these and order them on repeat. You notice that Perez Hilton is hosting a party across the street from slushie heaven, but you’re denied entrance to it because your leggings and fanny pack “don’t meet the dress code requirements.” Ok, sure. Like there’s a dress code on Bourbon Street. Somehow, you convince a stranger to trade outfits with you. You’re now wearing a cocktail dress and heels, and manage to get into the party.
Sunday – About 75% of your original group wakes up in your hotel room. Most of you are missing your phones. The rest trickle back within the hour. You were supposed to go back today, but tornados are expected along your route home, so your group makes the unanimous decision to stay through actual Mardi Gras. Sacrificing a small fortune, you extend your stay. You walk up and down Bourbon for most of the day and all of the night.
Monday – The non-stop craziness is starting to get a little old, and all you really want to do is sleep. The ten pounds of beads you’ve acquired are really getting heavy, and by this point and you’ve lost almost all of your cash, one of your credit cards, and perhaps either your phone or your ID. Determined to make the most of NOLA, you head to a Mardi Party at one of the bars. As it gets late, your friends get adventurous and insist on going to another bar. Drunk and exhausted, you pitch a bitch fit, but still somehow to manage to drag yourself out anyway.
Mardi Gras – Now that the day that everyone has been waiting for is finally here, you and your friends have a fresh wave of energy. After excessive pregaming, you make your way to the Mardi Gras parades, which are almost terrifying to a person who is borderline blackout. Later on Bourbon Street, you see the president of your sorority in a state of inebriation she’s never reached before. The two of you decide to flash for beads together. So much for that promise you made yourself. You continue drinking fish bowls, hand grenades, hurricanes, wine slushies, and anything else you can get for the rest of the day.
Wednesday – Severely hungover, everyone quickly gathers up what remains of their belongings and gets to the car as fast as they can. After getting stuck in crazy traffic that resulted from a combination of blocked off roads, a misguided GPS, and a mass exodus from the city, you finally hit the highway for a 12-hour drive through a tornado. You’d find this more unsettling if you weren’t too hungover to care. You finally make it back just after midnight and pass out in your bed.
Mardi Gras took your phone, your money, your IDs, and your dignity, but at least you had one hell of a time.