If you plan on going to Mardi Gras, which you should. There’s a few things you need to know.
- Remember where you parked. It sounds like a no-brainer, but let’s be real. If you have a tendency to forget where you parked at the grocery store, there’s a high probability you will forget where you parked at Mardi Gras. I also suggest you park in a legal spot. Yes, you will have to pay to park there, but it’s better than the fine you’ll pay after the car’s towed.
- Bring a sack. The reveler’s are usually generous with the throws. You need a place to stash your hoard. A pillowcase or a shopping bag are both good. You can wear most of the beads you catch. Warning: they get heavy if you don’t have a bag, you’ll end up with a soar neck. You can also eat the moonpie’s but those stuffed animals and roman noodles have to go somewhere.
- Bring food or a wad of cash. Man was not meant to live on moonpie’s alone. If you plan on staying for more than one parade a day, you’ll need food. There are plenty of food trucks lining the streets, not to mention the peanut man, but that gets expensive. There are a number of parks downtown. Pack a lunch and enjoy the people watching. Don’t forget the water.
- Wear layers. Mobile weather is…bizarre. It may be cold, hot, or rainy. Come prepared for all three. If you bring an umbrella, it doubles as a throw catching device. A word of warning, not sure how legal that is and the people you stand next to, may not like it.
- Keep up with the wee ones. Thousands of people go to each parade. Children love the noise and colors. It can be hard to keep up with them. Have them all where the same neon colored shirt. The more insane the better. Bonus points if it’s reflective or glows in the dark. Spray paint their hair with a bright color. That way if they wander away, it’s easier to see them. In case they wander too far, make sure they know your cell number and have ID with them. Police are everywhere downtown.
- Get a map of the route. Visitor’s may not know this, there’s more than one parade route. The smart visitor studies the map ahead of time. Pick out the best location, that has easy access to another road. You can usually see the parade in one spot and then walk a block or two and catch the parade again. Twice the amount of throws! Just remember: Do NOT jump the barricades.
- Keep your shirt on. This is not New Orleans.
Laissez les bons temps roule!
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