LOCATION: New Orleans, Louisiana
SEASON: Mardi Gras, bro. Typically February through early March.
IDEAL CONDITIONS: Stuck to the beer-soaked ﬂoorboards of an outdoor bar, double-ﬁsting your choice—local booze or a stranger’s breasts.
LODGING RECOMMENDATIONS: It’s not about how much you’ll pay but acquiring lodging at all. Hotels and hostels sell out early, but last- minute travelers can share a pad with folks via Airbnb. Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep on the street; you’ll get pissed on.
INGESTIBLES: Sazerac (wicked cocktail of whiskey, bitters, and ab- sinthe), Hand Grenade (alcoholic Ecto-Cooler that comes in a cool fucking grenade cup), beignets, alligator sausage, King Cake (the creepy, plastic baby you’ll bite on is supposed to be baked in).
Mardifuckin’gras. Originally a celebration of feasting before fast- ing for Lent (aka “Fat Tuesday”), New Orleans’ Mardi Gras takes partying to epic proportions. Bourbon Street, a strip of touristy bars and cheesy restaurants, is the best place in NOLA to see titties on the regular during Mardi Gras, and let’s face it—that’s the main reason people come to New Orleans in February. But even bead- toting, fake-boobie flashers get old after a while. Less crappy bars include Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, which looks like a place you’d get bombed if life were a real version of the Oregon Trail. If you’re sick of stepping in vomit, escape the Mardi Gras madness and tuck into nearby Arnaud’s French 75, where guys in white tuxes will pour you fancy-pants cocktails through thick screens of cigar smoke.
When the parades are over and the po-po close down the streets around the French Quarter, you’ll need to find some indoor spaces to continue getting schwasted. Johnny White’s Bar is a less douchey version of Bourbon Street neighbor Pat O’Brien’s; grab some booze from bartenders who are often as wasted as their customers. Cajun Mikes Pub n’ Grub is open until 2:00 a.m. (or when- ever people stop getting sloppy, which is sometimes well beyond that), with its delicious, cheap ass po’ boys and $2 PBRs. Stave off a potential hangover with coffee and a beignet at Café Du Monde, which is usually filled with obese tourists during the day, but is pretty pleasant at 4:00 a.m. (open twenty-four hours a day, hollaaa!).
A hundred and twenty hours of party parades: The best thing to do is trip balls while watching the famous Mardi Gras parades, known for their elaborate floats and sometimes eccentric krewes (local organizations):
>Krewe of Muses (Thursday): hot chicks who throw girly things like sparkly shoes, jewelry, maybe birth control if you’re lucky.
Krewe d’Etat (Friday): floats that make fun of politics, political figures, and throw glowy skull necklaces.
Krewe of Endymion (Saturday): float riders take the slogan “Throw Until It Hurts” to heart and pelt their audiences with all kinds of plastic crap—this shit is cray.
Krewe of Bacchus (Sunday): this is the biggest of the party parades, packed with flamboyantly decorated floats, overindulgent costumes, and drunken celebrities dressed as crazy people.
Krewe of Orpheus (Monday): was started by local Harry
Connick Jr., but if you have to miss one then this newcomer is your safest bet.
FUCKED UP FIRSTHAND
Bells rang. Whistles blew. Lights flashed and an alarm wailed. The bartender threw a handful of ice into the air and passed a drink to Patrick. The drink was some kind of clear alcohol with bright red grenadine “bleeding” into the cup. Shoved into it was a rubber shark. Patrick downed the drink, removed the shark, and stuck it through the unzipped fly of his jeans.
Tropical Isle was like a washed-up Margaritaville: loud music, obnoxious-colored décor, and a trashy drink menu. It was the perfect place to start our “Drink All Day” day. A couple of girls stood at a sticky, high-top table nearby. I’m guessing they were local, from their matching booty shorts and tank tops emblazoned with the name of a restaurant down the street. They had “butter” faces (every- thing sexy “but her” face); still definitely fuckable.
Patrick sauntered over to the table, slurring, “Hey there.”
“Nice shark.” The blond chick eyed the exposed floppy rubber boner.
“I’ll trade it for your underwear,” Patrick replied with a drunken smile.
The blonde looked to her friend and shrugged. She disappeared past the breathalyzer in the corner of the bar where Patrick blew a 1.8 a few minutes ago, reemerging with a tiny, silken wad. She put it on the table, and ripped the shark out from Patrick’s exposed crotch hole. “You have to give these back at the end of your drink,” she said. “But you can keep the pann’ies.”
The most glorious annual shitshow in America, Mardi Gras will be the best/worst decision of your life.
From 101 Places to Get F*cked Up Before You Die: The Ultimate Travel Guide to Partying Around the World by Matador Network and edited by David S. Miller. Copyright © 2013 by Matador Network and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.