Mardi Gras can be a fun, raucous time, but it can also be chaotic and unpredictable when you factor in huge crowds of people drinking alcohol. If there’s one thing you can expect aside from drunken crowds, it’s the police out in force. If you’ve never been to New Orleans or Mardi Gras before, here are a couple of rules to be mindful of so you can stay safe and avoid altercations with police.
Mardi Gras Rules
- Wear a pickpocket-proof outfit – The streets during Mardi Gras are always packed full of people, which means pickpockets will be out and about looking for unsuspecting targets. When dressing for Mardi Gras, avoid wearing clothing with baggy pockets and opt for something more form-fitting. It’s harder for pickpockets to steal from your front pockets, so store your phone and wallet in them. You can also stuff your hands in your front pockets while walking to protect your belongings. Only bring the essentials, like cash and ID, and leave your credit cards at home – most venues at Mardi Gras only take cash, so budget for the day wisely and set up a debit card on your locked phone to pay or withdraw money when necessary.
- Be mindful when drinking – Pacing yourself is the name of the game while drinking at Mardi Gras. No one wants to pass out early, but more importantly, you don’t want to become a prime target for petty thieves, especially in the wild French Quarter. Stay with a close group of friends and pace yourself while drinking, limiting yourself to one or two drinks per bar (depending on the type of drink you’re consuming). Set up a mutual meeting point if people in the group get lost and bring mobile phone chargers to keep your phone charged well into the night.
- Keep your clothes on – Although Mardi Gras is known for patrons bearing it all, police officers won’t be having any of it. Nudity is somewhat tolerated on Bourbon Street, like quick flashes of skin, but officers won’t tolerate full nudity, especially along parade routes as many people bring their children to the parades. Keep in mind that even a quick flash on Bourbon Street could get you arrested, so keep your clothes on as there are plenty of other ways to earn beads.
- Leave beads on the ground – Beads meant for patrons that were tossed from balconies but miss and hit the ground shouldn’t be worn for sanitary and tradition reasons. Thrown beads that miss were meant for other patrons, and wearing missed beads is considered a no-no as you didn’t earn them from the initial thrower. Also, Mardi Gras streets are far from sanitary, so do yourself a favor and don’t pick them up.
- Be aware of family zones – Mardi Gras is not just an adult holiday, but one for whole families as well. There are zones exclusively for families where they can enjoy wholesome activities without worrying about drunk patrons wandering in. Be mindful of family zones and behave yourself as if your own kids were there with you. Police won’t hesitate to remove drunken patrons who disturb family-friendly zones.
- Respect the police – Long shifts, parade duty, traffic accidents, lost kids, fights, rowdy crowds and plenty other incidents have the police overworked during carnival. If they tell you to do something, cooperate. Do not use offensive words, resist or assault the police in any way, regardless of how aggrieved you might feel. Keep in mind that during this time the on-duty police have an efficient system of arresting, booking and carting people off to central lockup and depending on what day you got arrested most likely you will not be released until after Fat Tuesday.
Seek Expert Legal Representation with Burgos & Associates
If you’ve been arrested or issued a citation, it’s critical to act quickly with legal representation experienced in handling the intricacies of misdemeanor, felony and DUI cases. The attorneys at Burgos & Associates have years of experience in handling a variety of cases specific to the Baton Rouge and New Orleans area.
If you’ve been detained after an altercation at Mardi Gras or another Louisiana event, our lawyers know the rights afforded to you under Louisiana state law and can represent your case to ensure the best outcome possible. Contact Burgos & Associates today to schedule a legal consultation.