Every year, millions of people across the United States break out the beads to celebrate Mardi Gras. And while local bars host their own Fat Tuesday events, New Orleans is Mardi Gras. It is estimated that approximately 1.4 million people attend Mardi Gras in New Orleans every year.

While movie depictions of the event make out Mardi Gras to be a torrid adult affair, the truth is, the event attracts families from all over the country. And though there are many kid-friendly events in New Orleans, Mardi Gras is still one of the country’s biggest parties. As such, it’s important to be smart and take safety precautions when you head out to the big event. Because believe us when we say, it’s much more fun to discuss last night’s events from the comfort of your own home rather than a hospital or a jail cell. Here are a few tips to help you make sure you have a fun and safe Mardi Gras this year.

Tip 1: If you drink, don’t drive

Drinking and driving is never a good idea. In 2018 there were over 10,000 deaths because of drunk driving. Mardi Gras is an especially dangerous time for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists. The past several years have seen too many tragedies take the lives of partygoers celebrating the holiday. Nobody is telling you not to drink, but if you do, make sure you have a way to get home that does not involve you driving. Ride shares and walking are great options if you decide to partake in the evening festivities.

Tip 2: Never travel alone

While walking is a good way to avoid drinking and driving, it is never a good idea to walk home alone. If you plan on walking back to your hotel, make sure there is at least one other person to accompany you home. Traveling alone may make you the target of a violent crime. A recent analysis found that most crimes on Mardi Gras happen in the late evening hours in the French Quarter District.

Always be aware of your surroundings. Avoid dark streets, even when traveling with a group and avoid drinking too much. If you notice something suspicious, or something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut and remove yourself from the situation.

Tip 3: No weapons

It’s never a good idea to bring a weapon to a crowded area, especially where there is drinking. Not only does bringing a gun to Mardi Gras increase your odds of getting hurt, it’s also illegal. The law prohibits anyone under the influence from carrying a concealed carry permit. The law also prohibits you from bringing a gun into any place of business that serves alcohol.

Tip 4: Have a plan

It’s hard to truly understand the enormity of Mardi Gras until you get there. Trust us, it’s always a good idea to have a plan. What happens if someone gets separated from the group or worse, arrested? How late will you stay? When and where will you eat? These things may seem simple, but being rushed, hungry, or panicked will never make a stressful situation better. Speaking of having a plan, make sure you plan ahead and charge your phones.

Tip 5: Only carry as much cash as you need

This goes for any travel situation. You don’t want to carry more cash than you need when you are going to be around a large crowd. For starters, you’re making yourself vulnerable to pickpockets. Criminals watch for travelers who are not being smart, flashing their money, or just don’t care. Plus, if you’re going to be drinking, there’s a chance you may lose your wallet. It’s a good idea to bring some cash to the event as some places may not take cards, but leave the big wad of cash at home.

Tip 6: Watch your temper

Nobody goes to Mardi Gras saying, “Hey, I’m going to get in a fight.” But when you combine alcohol and crowds, people tend to get a little rowdy. This is why it’s a good idea to watch how much you drink. The more you drink, the more likely you are to lose your inhibitions. If someone tries to start a fight with you, walk away. It is not worth it a trip to the local jail. Mardi Gras is a big event. There will be police around. If someone is bothering you, report it.

Tip 7: Know (and respect) the rules

It’s a good idea to do your homework before you head down to the French Quarter. There are rules that help keep the event safe and enjoyable. Violations can lead to a simple warning or they can lead to arrest. There are too many rules to list here, but some of the basics you should know include:

  • No glass containers. It’s okay to have an open container, it just has to be plastic.
  • Stay away from barriers. The barriers are there for everyone’s safety. Keep an appropriate distance and do not attempt to cut through any off-limits areas.
  • Respect private property. There will be private property along the course of the parade. Do not be that person who decides to park in someone’s driveway or leave your trash on their property. Pick up after yourself, be respectful, and keep the noise down in private neighborhoods.

Contact Alvendia, Kelly & Demarest after an injury

While we all do our best to stay safe, sometimes circumstances are beyond our control. The negligence of others can create a dangerous situation for those around them. Unfortunately, car accidents and other crimes happen annually at Mardi Gras. If you have been injured celebrating Mardi Gras, our team is here to help. Our lawyers come from diverse backgrounds and diligently fight for our clients. Nobody wants to end the night with an accident or injury. But it helps to know that someone will be by your side. If you have questions or need help with your case, call the legal team of Alvendia Kelly & Demarest at 504-200-0000 or contact us online for a free consultation.