Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2017

What You Should Know About Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2017

The greatest time of the year in New Orleans is here! Each year, thousands of visitors travel to the city to experience what all residents know is the “best free party in the world.” That’s right, it’s Mardi Gras season in New Orleans.  Carnival season starts on February 11th with two parades, and there will continue to be parades all around the greater New Orleans area until Fat Tuesday, February 28th.

Residents love this time of year because it’s always a chance to catch up with friends and family.  Along with parades, marching bands, dance troupes, King Cake (my first slice this year was pecans praline flavored from Rouses) and deep-fried everything, there will be fresh boiled crawfish again this year! Since New Orleans permits public consumption of alcohol, you can also bet there will be tons of drinking.

 

Due to the number of people who are out on the open streets at the same time and the amount of alcohol being drank, it’s very important to remain safe. Here are some tips for having fun and remaining safe during Mardi Gras in New Orleans!

 

What’s New to Mardi Gras in 2017?

 

We’ve had new rules adopted each year in the past, but this year there’s nothing new to learn. For a complete schedule of Mardi Gras parades in the greater New Orleans area, click here.

 

Family Gras & Metairie Mardi Gras Parades

 

Every year, Metairie hosts a family-friendly Mardi Gras parade called Family Gras. In addition to the traditional parades, Metairie brings in some pretty famous musicians, singers and entertainers. Family Gras takes place along Veterans Memorial Boulevard. Last year Family Gras featured Amanda Shaw, Cowboy Mouth, Blood Sweat & Tears, Wilson Phillips, Montgomery Gentry, Jessy McCartney, The Drifters, and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. This year, Family Gras in Metairie is from Friday, February 17th to Sunday, February 19th. You can stay up to date on Family Gras, as well as this year’s performers by clicking here.

 

How to Stay Safe During Mardi Gras 2017

It’s important to know the rules, laws, and etiquette of New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Not only are there specific laws pertaining to Mardi Gras, but there is an underlying etiquette you should know. This includes:

  • If you have a ladder, a grill or a tent, it must be at least 6 feet away from the curb on all parade routes; it cannot block a sidewalk or intersection.
  • You must have a permit for any private portable toilets that are placed on public property. You can place a private toilet on your private property without a permit.
  • You are not allowed to toss beads, throws or food at the floats. This is a $250 fine.
  • You cannot rope off public areas anywhere in the city.
  • Make sure you follow ALL public parking signs. You must move your car from a parade route 2 hours prior to any parade.
  • Make sure you are not parked within 20 feet of a crosswalk, intersection, fire hydrant or stop sign. The front end of your car always needs to be facing the direction of traffic; park with traffic.
  • Do not carry a firearm to a parade, whether concealed or not. It is illegal in New Orleans to bring a firearm to a parade.

How Should You Behave at Mardi Gras?

 

Whether you’re 80 or 8, we’re all young at heart during Mardi Gras. That means that we tend to let loose, have a few drinks, act a little immature and forget about our worries for a few weeks. But, we still need to remember to be polite to others in order to maintain a safe and joyous environment for everyone.

  • If you are not 21 years or older, you cannot drink alcohol. You can get cited or arrested for being a minor in possession of alcohol. Luckily, Crescent City Law represents those charged for being a minor in possession of alcohol and can often get the case dismissed.
  • Although everyone over the age of 21 is permitted to drink in public, you cannot drink out of glass bottles. Whether or not it is enforced year-round, it is absolutely enforced during Mardi Gras for the safety of everyone. Glass is dangerous; do not bring it outside of your home, hotel or the bar.

 

On a more personal note, I noticed more people fighting during Uptown parades than ever last year! Sadly, they were fighting over some of the more coveted throws. In my opinion, the riders in Nyx, Muses, Zulu, and all of the other parades spend time creating their unique throws. Personally, I know a number of women in Nyx that spend HOURS making purses to throw to parade-goers. Sometimes they randomly throw them into the crowd, but more often they are handing them to personal friends as a way to say, “thanks for the support.” When a lady of Muses gives a shoe to a friend, they consider it to be a really big deal; typically they try to make it very clear who the shoe is for. Sadly, many people don’t understand this etiquette and will fight for a throw intended for someone else. This behavior can be quite dangerous for anyone and everyone attending the parades.

  • Stop fighting over shoes, purses, and coconuts–you’re ruining my Mardi Gras.

 

Additionally, some simple rules to follow:

  • Do NOT touch the NOPD horses.
  • Do NOT take your clothes off outside of the French Quarter.
  • Do NOT urinate in public.
  • Always LISTEN to law enforcement.
  • Do NOT bring weapons to the parades.
  • Do NOT bring drugs to the parades.
  • Always OBEY traffic and parking signs.

What if I am Arrested in New Orleans During Mardi Gras?

 

If you have too much to drink, try to keep your hands to yourself.  You do not want to get charged with disturbing the peace, lewd conduct, public intoxication, criminal damage of property, assault or even an open container violation. If you are arrested in New Orleans for any of these charges during Mardi Gras, you may be taken to Central Lockup for some time. If you or a friend are arrested in Metairie or New Orleans for any of these charges, it is imperative that you contact Crescent City Law immediately to help protect your rights and help you sort through the charges.

 

Remember, if you are cited or arrested, you are not obligated to speak to law enforcement aside from providing your name and address. You have a right to remain silent; use it. You want to immediately tell law enforcement (whether it’s NOPD, Orleans Parish Sherriff’s Office, or Louisiana State Police) that you wish to speak with your lawyer. Call Crescent City Law at 504-264-9492 to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Not only will we make sure you get out of jail, but we will ensure your rights are protected. With years of experience, we are extremely familiar with law enforcement and the courts in New Orleans.

 

We know that Mardi Gras is a time for fun, but you do not have to ruin your life by making one silly mistake. Notably, we offer a flat rate fee for many of the citations handed out during Mardi Gras. Remember, you can contact us by filling out a form or by calling 504-264-9492 anytime. We are available nights and weekends, as well as off-site. We hope you have a great Mardi Gras this year – Happy Mardi Gras, Louisiana!

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