Mardi Gras is more than beads, boobs, and booze. Whether you’re a Mardi Gras virgin or a seasoned veteran with the liver damage to prove it, here are 21 Mardi Gras necessities. Let this survival guide lead the way as your downward spiral into drunken debauchery begins.
1. Mardi Gras is incomplete until you sing “Wagon Wheel” at the top of your lungs at Pat O’s. Their Hurricanes will turn you into the biggest natural disaster of all.
2. Grain alcohol makes the floats brighter, the walking tolerable, and catching beads the most important endeavor you’ve ever experienced.
3. A large and in charge bladder is necessary. Bathrooms can be hard to find, and you don’t want to depend on Depends.
4. Build up your alcohol tolerance. Mardi Gras is a marathon, not a sprint. Unless you’ve been training all year by pouring liquor down your gullet, you’re not ready.
5. You’ll also need tolerance for old ladies who shove you out of the way to bob for beads. They’re saggy and love body slamming, but you’ll survive.
6. Brass knuckles are a good way to defend your spot on the parade route. People take where they stand seriously, so you’ll need to be prepared to fight off invaders.
7. Do not, under any circumstance, pick up beads off of the ground. Sure, they’re shiny and you’re wasted, but it’s a serious faux pas.
8. Tote an ice pack, because you will at some point get hit in the face by a bag of beads. You can always use it as an excuse to change up your nose.
9. Prepare to flash…a smile. It works just as well as flashing cleavage.
10. Bring a baby to catch beads. You may have heard that boobs get beads, but an adorable child rakes in rewards.
11. Your shoes will be ruined by mud, muck, and sticky liquor. Wear shoes you don’t care about. They will get destroyed.
12. A 610 stomper by your side is the must-have man candy. They’re mustachioed men who dance through the streets in red short shorts.
13. Try everything (at least) once. I suggest a Diesel drive-thru daq, a Hand Grenade, and a margarita with enough tequila to tranquilize a horse.
14. Keep your friends close and your hand sanitizer closer. You don’t even want to know the diseases you can catch during Mardi Gras. The answer is all the diseases. All of them.
15. Pack a fanny pack with a flask, koozie, and camera, so you remember that Mardi Gras actually happened.
16. An extra kidney will come in handy.
17. New Orleans now has a special hangover center (conveniently located only blocks from my house) that charges hundreds of dollars to hook you up to an IV and cure you. I prefer spending a hundred less dollars on Bagel Bites and blue Powerade. Your call, but your wallet will thank you.
18. Use the buddy system. Looking like a “Jon & Kate Plus 8” plethora of children on a field trip is better than going rogue.
19. Wear your best purple, green, and gold. Mardi party is like a themed mixer, which makes shacking much easier. New Orleans basically throws a parade in your honor the next day, turning your walk of shame into a stride of pride.
20. Prepare to find glitter in strange places for the rest of your life.
21. Don’t be fooled by Taaka. It doesn’t mix well with anything, including people.
Image via Regan Law