Cultural Experience | Louisiana

Mardi Gras: How to Pack Your Fanny Pack

Here are the Basic Items Have on Hand to Party Hardi at Mardi Gras

“Can I come visit for Mardi Gras?!” is the question asked by everyone and anyone who finds out that I’m currently living in the city of New Orleans. Although I understand the appeal to come and see one of the biggest parties of the year firsthand, there is a lot about partying the “hardi gras” way that people who have never experienced it do not understand.

First of all, there is nothing in anyone’s life that can prepare them for the chaos that is Mardi Gras. No amount of holiday parades, college keg parties or bar hops can truly ready someone for what can only be described as a marathon of survivor. They key word is that it is a marathon. Every single person you meet (And I mean EVERY person) will warn you that Mardi Gras is not a sprint. The first big parade of Mardi Gras weekend is on Thursday night and the fact is that most first-timers probably won’t make it to the last parade on Tuesday evening. Most of them probably won’t even make it to Zulu, which is at 8am on Tuesday morning. If you are determined to make it, expect to miss a day of parades either Sunday or Monday otherwise, you simply will not leave your bed after Monday night.


The second and probably most important thing to expect at Mardi Gras is that bathrooms, food, and transportation are scarce. Like Hunger Games scarce. You will at one point in time debate whether or not it is worth being arrested to just pee behind a bush somewhere. Don’t. It is not worth it. Although after a day of parades, you may think the New Orleans police are just there to keep the peace but you will find out how strict they are when they are locking you up until Wednesday morning (Yes, Wednesday morning because once Mardi Gras starts and you are arrested, you aren’t released until Mardi Gras ends) for public indecency.

What to Bring:

 Single dollar bills for port-o-pottys, Tissues, Hand Sanitizer

As far as food, do not give in to the street vendors temptations of fried chicken on a stick or rice and beans. Its no surprise these prices (as well as the price of alcohol from street vendors) has been hiked up by about 300%.

A granola bar or two, a full flask (recommended but not required)

Also, if you are attending a parade downtown when you know you will need to get back to your bed Uptown at the end of the night, do not wait for the parade to be over to leave. Also, do not expect to catch a cab anywhere near the parade route and certainly do no bother calling any cab companies because you will hear busy tones until the sun rises.

Quarters for the streetcar, phone charger, comfortable shoes/sneakers

The last thing to expect at Mardi Gras is a good time! You will meet so many new friends and even if you don’t quite remember all of their names the next morning, you will want the pictures to prove that all the crazy things you did actually happened. Remember.. “The memories may have already faded but the photos will haunt us forever”

Disposable camera/camera phone

Do not bring your professional camera that costs more than a laptop because you will break it or it will be stolen

Good luck, stay safe, and lassiez les bons temps rouler!


Rebecca Dowden

Tulane University | 1 story

An inspired writer and designer currently studying architecture in the city of New Orleans. I'm constantly overflowing with ideas about design, architecture, writing and the human experience in general. My only future aspiration is to be happy although I wouldn't mind having a job I enjoy waking up for everyday. I love exploration and travel adventure which is why I picked up and moved from New Jersey to New Orleans. I only watch comedy movies and my favorite color is mint green.

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