Carnivaltime in New Orleans has always been regarded as a wild and
wooly time, there are a number of things that just will not
be tolerated by the fine folks of the New Orleans Police Department, or
any of the other local constabularies for that matter. But, how
did New Orleans Mardi Gras earn such a reputation?
The answer goes back to the late 18th century when the Mardi Gras celebrations went from being a jolly time of bal masques
in genteel Creole homes to all-out donnybrooks in the streets.
Until the mid 19th century, Mardi Gras became known as a dangerous time
when people would be attacked for no reason and murder victims (whose
deaths would forever remain unsolved) littered the streets on Ash
That is, until the arrival of Comus in 1857.
Today, the impression that Mardi Gras is a free-for-all with no control
or reprecussions is also helped along by the ever-increasing
innundation of high school and college-aged youths that keep popping up
on the evening television news feeds in various stages of intoxication
and verbal accuity. In actuality, there are specific rules
concerning such things that the city has been accused of fostering.
here we have to address a...sensitive issue. For some reason,
when people come to Mardi Gras, they have a habit of...misplacing their
clothes. Now, your humble Professor does not pretend to know just
why or how a reveler could manage to misplace his or her clothing; but
it does happen, so there you are.
As I have mentioned earlier, the good constables at the New Orleans
Police Department have very clear rules regarding what is to happen to
those careless souls who discover they are 'sin los trajes'. Apparently,
they are given blankets and carted along to somewhere called the Iron
Bar Hotel where they will spend the rest of Mardi Gras and miss all the
parades. Also, from what I am given to believe, this Iron Bar
Hotel is apparently a very expensive hotel in which to stay, so
expensive in fact that lots of people vow never to stay there again.
Well, in your Professor's opinion, it seems a great deal of trouble, so
I advise you to always watch your clothing. Otherwise, you will
have to spend all of your time in an expensive place with no parades
and no fun!
you are here at Carnivaltime, and especially on Lundi Gras and Mardi
Gras, you will most likely encounter a great many people who are
suffering from one of the biggest problems that revelers have to
endure. A strange disease that is only caught at Carnival, called
"mardihydration", or "Thirsty Gras".
Yes, as strange as it seems, a lot of people fall victim to this
mysterious condition where they simply forget to drink enough
water. Instead, they end up drinking a lot of other beverages
that are NOT water, which only makes them thirstier. In my studies
on the subject, I have discovered that "mardihydration"
affects everyone differently; some people become giggly and
goofy, while some people just go all sleepy. Still others
can become quite cross indeed, and should be left to the authorities to
give them a time-out. And, speaking of the authorities...
The New Orleans Police Department is very concerned with the epidemic
proportions of this preventable disease, and therefore patrol the streets
to search out those poor souls who have fallen victim. Ever
vigilant, they will escort the affected to an intensive-care unit
called the Pokey, where they can recover from their illness.
However, the recovery period is apparently very taxing and usually ends
up leaving the victim with painful headaches and unexplained
tattoos. Like all healthcare, the Pokey treatment is very
expensive and can go on for days or weeks.
Now, of course, the quickest way to keep from contracting mardihydration
disease is to keep yourself well-hydrated. Make sure that you
have plenty of water, fruit or vegetable juices, and sports drinks
handy with you throughout the day. It's all right if you do drink
other things as well (soft drinks, nectar sodas, or those "grown-up
drinks" that people over 21 can have), but only occasionally. Too
many of these can cause you to end up with Thirsty Gras!
all, the main thing to remember when reveling in the streets of New
Orleans at Carnivaltime is to be sensible about being insensible.
I shall explain.
The very air of Carnival carries with it the inexplicable spark of fun
and frivolity, which Mardi Gras scientists recognize as the essence of
celebration. It is a very powerful agent on the revelers nervous
system, causing great joy and merriment.
It also causes folks to forget the practicalities of the day.
Recognizing this, I have collected the following "Don't Do
Withouts" to keep your holiday in good form:
|Wear comfortable shoes and costumes - you will be on your feet and moving around a lot.
an arranged meeting place and time if you separate from your
group. For example, hotel lobby, 6pm. Also, preprogram cell
phone numbers before setting out.
|Do not carry around large amounts of money - credit cards or traveler's cheques are better in case of loss.
|Always obey police officials! They work very hard during Mardi Gras and endure a great deal of stress.
COMING SOON!!! A new post-Katrina list of What NOT to Do!