February 23rd, 2011
05:00 PM ET
5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.
We're having a two-night stand with Lu Brow.
Our favorite New Orleans bar chef is back from yesterday's happy hour to offer a few words of wisdom for your upcoming Mardi Gras revelry - no matter the number of Sazeracs you've swigged.
Get ready to laissez les bons temps rouler - just don't let them rouler you right into the NOPD's possession.
What NOT to Do During Mardi Gras: Lu Brow
If you *can* actually remember Mardi Gras, share your favorite experience in the comments below.
Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.
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There are people that live there. In the French Quarter and along Parade Routes. Please control your drinking and bodily fluids. Not saying locals don't go crazy but seems like every year, it is the idiotic tourists who come down to the city, can't control their alcohol intake, ending up puking everywhere, pissing in the streets and lifting their shirts or pulling down their pants. Its not cool. You wouldn't want anyone barfing on your front porch or peeing in your lawn would you? So be considerate and have a great time!
Since 1993 I have missed Mardi Gras twice (2006 & 2013), I started going for the party but it has changed into a love of the city, the food & the people. If you've never been but want to go, get someone to take you to show where not to go. As in most big cities there are dangers but there are tons of adventures and you will fall in love with a great city. Ask the locals where they eat, drink or party, don't follow the tourist maps.
Been there, done that–over and over and over. Hate missing this year. There is nothing like it anywhere! The wonderful city of New Orleans is a special place always, but especially at Mardi Gras.
The food looks fantastic but Mardi Gras looks like one big scary frat party to me where I would get shoved in the middle of a fight before I am thrown up on. I think I'll pass. Wouldn't say no to going off peak and exploring the spooky cemetaries though!
Try Halloween. Same party atmosphere with less than half the crowd. I have been for both and would do Halloween there every year if I could afford it.
Make sure you wear comfortable shoes, because you'll likely walk a lot as you navigate the quarter. The streets tend to get pretty nasty, so make sure you're not wearing long pants or shoes that are expensive. As always, never drink and drive. Stay safe, have gun and laissez les bons temps rouler!.
The streets tend to get a bit sloshy and dirty, so make sure you wear shoes you can wash or even throw away. I would stay away from sandals or heels. Have fun!!! Mardi Gras is a great time, and New Orleans is just wonderful. I used to live in Mandeville (pre-Katrina) and I miss it dearly. The people, the culture, the food, the music, Cafe du Mond. Oh, and the street performers! Ahh, the memories...
That water is totally not just water...pee, vomit, river sludge, you name it. I am from Baytown, TX which is only a few hours drive from NOLA and go quite frequently. I have learned from experience not to stress on what shoes I wear, to just go with the fun, wear shoes that are okay to destroy and avoid puddles. Oh, and pee before you leave the hotel. Most public restrooms in the Quarter are inside restraunts and require a purchase and use of a token on the bathroom door. Just saying. If you are all full of hurricanes and really need to go you might find yourself in trouble. And don't drive to the quarter, take a cab and split the fares with friends because it's almost impossible to find parking.
Thank you most for your advice, tips, and mental picturation of Mardi Gras. I am in Seattle area and goona be there this year for my first time to NOLA. It is on my bucket list. Pretty excitied! thanks!
Have an idea of cab fares before you travel, and settle on a price as soon as you get in the cab. My friend got charged $125 dollars to get to Tulane campus from the Quarter.
And pack snacks. If you're filling up a cooler with beer you might as well throw in some granola bars and sandwiches.
1. Remember where you park (if you carpool, select a location and time to meet should you become separated).
2. Carry as little as possible.
3. Wear comfortable shoes.
4. Remember not to drink too much before selecting appropriate designated public restrooms.
We come down from Vancouver to new Orleans every six months or so. Never have been to Mardi Gras but were there for Halloween. It is what you make it, the French Quarter was crazy so we spent a lot of time on Frenchmen. Mostly locals, we had a blast. This is the greatest city to visit, food, drink, people, it's all fantastic!
the jazz fest is also a great time to be in the area
Just read all the comments. I love New Orleans – My first time was Christmas 1962. Still have paintings from that time on our wall. Next time in 1970 – Grad school – LSU – made great friends – lots of good times in NO. Veteran of 70 Mardi Gras – year that Al Hirt got hit by brick on the float – parades all weekend until Tuesday night and then back to school for morning class on Wednesday. Great stories forever. We get back to New Orleans whenever we get chance – all our kids are the same way. Johnny's Po- Boys, Central Grocery, and Beignets with coffee in the morning – life is good.
Get out of New Orleans and go to Rio De Janerio, Brazil
I LOVEE BOOBS.. but isnt it ironic how one of the places home to complete sin ... Mardigras .. was flooded and practicly washed away... sounds like some modern day biblical shyttte to me.
First, let me declare my bias: I am from Mobile, AL and grew up with our celebration. I don't much care for the New Orleans Mardi Gras. The one time I went it was jam packed and the group I was with kept getting separated. Finding a decent place to drink or watch parades was nearly impossible. Don't misunderstand, New Orleans is a great town, but the city is much more fun outside of Carnival season.
you should try the metairie parades, much more like the mobile family atmosphere, and has all of the same regional food as new orleans.
Metairie parades, just like Mobile, are all-white. A good place for all you racists to keep each other company.
I don't think he was implying racist stuff.
Stay safe everyone. And don't mess with the cops. They don't want to take your photo.
I had a fabulous time in New Orleans on Halloween one time! Just as much fun as Mardi Gras, WAY less people. Love NO; it's a great place.
What great advice...I adore the city and love to go let my hair down...best food ever...and by the way what exceptional advice from Lu Brow, a much admired "cocktalologist" once in my area of La.!!! New Orleans is lucky to have such an incredible ambassador! Love you Lu!!!!
Part of Carrollton at Riverbend is considered Garden District.
Carrollton at the River Bend is Uptown. Far, far away from the Garden District.
No, no it is not. I second David-you are wrong.
If one really wants to be technical, the Garden District actually lies between Louisiana Ave-Jackson Ave(east/west) and St. Charles Ave-Magazine St(north/south). It seems most people tend to confuse Uptown with the much smaller Garden District or think that Garden District is Uptown.
No need to spend your money in that crappy city. You support them plenty through FEMA.
Stay in your bitter, unhappy place, F. Stay where the flavor of life is anger and resentment. Don't come here, please. This is a nice, happy place. We enjoy life, and only slightly hate haters like you.
Awwwwww, somebody either lost their mittens or their Mitt lost. Sour grapes, sonnyboy.
I had a ball at my last Mardi Gras...to bad I can remember any of it.
The police down here are very good at dealing with the crowds. Relative to how big the event is, Mardi gras is a very safe event. New Orleans is able to put on over 70 parades in a safe environment. Mardi gras is a New Orleans's declaration to the world on why it is different. It is the conglomeration of New Orleans cultural traits such as food, music, celebrations, Mardi Gras Indians, and our creativity. I encourage everyone to visit Mardi gras at least once. It is the event of the absurd. There are monarchs ruling over parades, people partying in the streets, and jazz bands marching around the city.
I grew up in NOLA in the 80s, so I have fond memories of Mardi Gras from a child to an adult. Not so pleasant memory the last time I was home for it – girl puking up her red beans n rice in a nice restaurant – NOT COOL. Don't go to eat if you aren't feeling well.
The whole city of New Orleans is a cesspool... do it anywhere worry more about being mugged than arrested
Slong, I'm sure you brought the cess to the pool. I've lived here 32 years without robbery, mugging, or burglary. There are cessy spots in this pool, as anywhere, and the old, relatively poor nature of the city, combined with subsidence (no bedrock!) give it a somewhat casual look may give a wrong impression. I've raised two rather brilliant kids here (triple major, 4.0!), and they, and I, love it!
Metairie is also a nice place to enjoy Mardi Gras if you don't want to fight for a parking spot & walk 2 miles to the parade route. Although it's not the same "true" Mardi Gras you will experience on St. Charles Ave. it is still a great time with great people. Happy Mardi Gras y'all!
When my son was very young I taught him three rules for going down into the French Quarter. Follow these and you will never have any problem:
1) Never make eye contact with a Clown.
2) Never argue with a cop.
3) Don't breath in and don't breath out when eating Beignets.
#3 – the powdered sugar will asphyxiate you. But you'll die happy.
I agree NOLAismyhome. Mardi Gras can be a fantastic family experience. Both of my kids have always LOVED parades. In fact we will be enjoying one tomorrow night!!!
Don't drop trou if you're a dude. Fastest way to find the clink in NOLA outside of peeing on Bourbon Street.
Mardi Gras does not suck. Any local, or anyone who has visited NOLA during Mardi Gras know, there are two separate and distinct celebrations. The first is the French Quarter, full of tourists, college kids and other revelers, who come here, under the mask of anonymity and flash their body parts, drink themselves into oblivion and generally make the NOPD work extra-hard. Sure there is some bad behavior, but not all are harmful; some people can't hold their alcohol, and being in a city that is so pro-fun is hard for some people at first. The second is uptown NOLA, particularly St. Charles Ave., filled with families, friends, children, old people, young people....all kinds of people, just looking to have fun. Sure, there is drinking, but there is also food, camaraderie, music, dancing, games, you name it. It is full of people who love life and are just happy to be celebrating with one another. Sure, there are a few who will wrestle you for a pair of beads, stomp on your hands for doubloons and muscle their way in front of you, even though you've been standing in the same spot for the past 24 hours, but it's all FUN! I have lived in NOLA for my whole life. I've been through mardi gras as a kid, an unruly teenager and young adult, and as a parent to my own kids, and the atmosphere uptown has not changed. It's about family, friends, good times, and good food. It is the ultimate tailgate! So, all you naysayers, heed my advice.....don't come down here for mardi gras! Only good attitudes and fun-loving spirits are welcome!
I lived and worked in NOLA a few years right out of college, and no one understands why I say I want to bring my kids for a Mardi Gras, they think I'm about to engage in child abuse. It is to this second Mardi Gras, as you say, that I want to bring them. I hated the French Quarter during Mardi Gras, but loved everything else about it. No matter how many parades we went to, I was always up for another one!! Get your ladders ready, kids...
TRU DAT! Born & raised in New Orleans, have fond memories on my Parrain's shoulders catching beads as a lil bit. Now I'm half the world away and miss it so so so much, can't wait til I can bring my little girl down for her first real Mardi Gras in the only place I'll ever truly consider home.
DON'T make out with random chicks while under the influence of alcohol and be labeled bi-sexual the rest of your days even though you're not...you just felt like kissing random chicks while drunk;) labels stick forever!!:)
Good advice for any time or place.
If you have the attraction to make out with other girls (drunk or sober), you ARE bi-sexual. Why is that a big deal? Most people are, they just don't act on it. I hate girls who do this.
I love NOLA, but Mardi Gras is the one time I have no interest in being there. Same reason I avoid Bourbon - too many amateurs. The other 51 weeks of the year, it is my favorite place.
Yeah U Rite!
I don't know why people would want to visit NOLA during Mardi Gras. I went about 10 years ago during Christmas, and while NO one was visiting, we still had the most amazing time both sucking up the history of Louisiana and partying. No lines for the good restaurants or clubs.
The point of visiting during Mardis Gras is Mardis Gras. You're quite right that to actually see New Orleans there are far better date choices. The best months are April and October, with early May and November following.
Mardi Gras sucks – only tourists don't know it. If you're an alcoholic, you'll love it! I lived on the parade route for many years and I am a party person. No sleep for 2 weeks before parades, urine on my porch each day, vomit on my lawn, asshole men in boxer shorts saving their "spot" on the lawn, music 24/7, people who think they are cool are so uncool, everyone is hung over or totally drugged out on the sidewalks. Yeah, lots of fun. Thank you, Katrina, for getting me the hell of there. NO regrets.
Amateur. You clearly can't handle Mardi Gras. You should have sub-let your place to someone else who could handle Mardi Gras. You don't need to be a drunk to enjoy it, just have a good attitude.
you WERE conscious the day you bought your house in New Orleans, correct?? just checkin'... because none of your complaints hold water as you managed to sign every one of those documents at closing time...
If you're skeptical of bringing kids to Mardi Gras or of Mardi Gras in general, come to Mobile, AL. It's smaller–though it still brings in close to a million parade-goers over the course of the celebration–and it's more family-friendly. It's still just as fun, though, and it's America's oldest ongoing Mardi Gras celebration. Carnival is my favorite time of year!
And if you're in NOLA, don't go to Bourbon. Go into the areas where locals go–Bourbon is all drunken tourists. It's family friendly in all other areas of the city, I promise! But for other advice: dress in layers (it's hot in the day, cool at night, though this year since it's in March, it may just be flat out hot), get there early, and bring lots of water in addition to your adult beverages of choice!
No regrets from the New Orleans side, either, Ava. I can imagine that living on the parade route can be unpleasant at times, but that should be offset by the luxurious beauty of living on St. Charles the rest of the year. You did have the choice to live off the main drag, you can't have been unaware of the pluses and minuses.
Some great advice has been given here,particularly from Dying4MG. I lived in NO for 2 years (great place to visit but you wouldnt want to live there). I love Mardi Gras but visitors need to be very careful....Dont carry a purse or your wallet in your back pocket; if you are female, stay with friends and dont wander off alone and dont show yr "goodies"; a weak bladder? wear Depends; DO enjoy the food, music, and the commardarie
it is definitely a great place to live, unless you want to live a boring life, just exist until you die.
I've lived there for 32 years, and it is definitely a great place to live! I've never been robbed, pick-pocketed, or burgled. I've had my glasses embedded in a passing float (gone, $300!) while lifting a child, and briefly lost my 2 year old (picked up by a cop to get a stuffed animal). I've lost 1.5 inches or so from picking up growing kids and beautiful girls. They're now 5'9" and 5'8", so I'm like that short pony with the tall guy you see.
What depressing advice! I never had any problems wandering around by myself before, during, or after parades. The only time I was ever robbed there was nowhere near carnival season. As for bathrooms, the best thing to do is to is make friends with people on a parade route!!! A lot of the good times on that holiday are about your mood-if you are nervous and constantly looking over your shoulder, it's not fun. But if you talk to those around you, smile, laugh, get a lift from a tall gentleman, and be nice to those around you, you'll be fully in it!!
As a graduate of Tulane University . . . I would like to offer the following tips:
1) Don't pee in public
2) Don't even touch the police barricade
3) Don't grab the boobies shaking in front of you.
Everything else is GAME.
Not a great list. Here's mine:
1) if a New Orleans cop asks you to do something, move back, set aside, whatever – say "Yes Sir (or Ma'm) and do it. These folks work incredibly hard to make sure we are all safe at Mardi Gras. Give'em a break and be nice.
2) If you show up 5 minutes befer a parade, DON'T rudely elbow your way to the front. Some of those folks have been there for hours. If your kid cannot see or you know someone in an approaching float – ASK if you can come up to the front for a few minutes – I've never heard a polite request turned down.
3) Meet the folks around you and share your food and beverages. They'll do the same.
4) Share your beads. 5 minutes after you sky for that priceless strand of plastic beads (okay, some are glass and cooler), the actual perceived price is lower. Hand them to the lady you body-checked out of the way. The joy can be in the catching – not the hoarding. And yes, I try to keep my own 8' Mardi Gras wingspan under control.
5) Just because it is Mardi Gras – don't be a slob. Bring a trash bag with you to the parade (okay – bring 2, 1 for beads) and put your trash (Popeye's boxes, soda cans, beer cans (no glass, please), etc. in the bag as te day/evening progresses. Makes it nicer for everyone and helps the cleaning crews following the parades.
6) Dignity at Mardi Gras is overrated.
Enjoy Mardi Gras, Have Fun and Stay Safe!
That's a great list. I agree with all of them, especially number 6, lol... So true, so true.
Man, You are the Coolest! Thanks for the list! Enjoy Mardi Gras.
Last year, Mardi Gras was extra crunk. The Saints had just won the Super Bowl, spirits were high...basically New Orleans was drunk for a week straight.
My husband and I lived on Carrollton, in the Garden District. so we were able to take the streetcar down to the Orpheus parade route. We posted up at Napoleon, on a friend's banquette. I wanted to go, just to drink, pass a good time and see Sean Payton. My favorite part of the parade was when Sean Payton was throwing these little black and gold footballs. I caught one, without even spilling my drink.
I think the best part was the jubilation. Everyone was smiling, in a great mood, and three sheets to the wind before 8:00.
Sorry NOLA Ex-Pat, no part of Carrollton (a street) is anywhere near the Garden District (a neighborhood).
Some of my most memorable Mardi Gras experiences in St. Louis include such fun things like my fence being kicked down, petty vandalism, the mountain of trash left behind, bloody fights on my front door steps, the guy last year that tried to break in to my house while I was there, and of course the never ending stream of urination in my yard. Oh, yeah, so much fun. To be fair, I will say that the vast majority of adults do behavior and are respectful of the neighborhood. All problems that I have experienced with Mardi Gras are cased by the young college age kids and underage drinkers that get out of control and destroy the community.
Mardi Gras in St. Louis? Gee, that's why I go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. People here know how to have a good tim without burning cars, breaking and entering, and vandalism..
Hire security to watch the door for your party, that's what I have done the past couple of years and it frees me up to cook and party. And it sounds like you don't have a garage, sorry about that.
I'm so looking forward to the dog parade and then the big party next Saturday.
Get a BB Gun and shoot peoples peters as they take a leak now theres so great fun!!!
LOL. I would be for that. I could relieve myself with no problem considering my "limited target area". All kidding aside, DON'T put it past these folks. They've been here a long time. N.O. Women once emptied their chamber pots on the heads of passing union soldiers during the Civil War.
Definitely don't try to touch boobies, even if the girls are shaking them right in your face and you would be justified in nursing on them.
Good advice in general.
ahahahaha very clever
Don't pee on the sidewalk. That is definitely a jailable offense in NOLA at Mardi Gras!
Before they got a decent porta-potty system, I couldn't wait in the hour line. There was a dark ally and my friends all blocked while I popped a squat next to a cop car. Nobody ever knew...
I don't care the reason. Doing that is not classy at all.
I suppose it's classier to pee all over yourself?
Since when has it ever been "classy" to take a piss anywhere? And if there is a way to take a piss with class please enlighten me!
@ slacker. if you're a guy, I'm pretty sure that when peeing, you don't use your pinkie finger to hold it. now that's classy!
I been to 10 mardi gras! I love NOLA. One time I saw this kid peeing on the side of a building. A cop came over and told him to clean it up til its dry..or go to jail. The boy deceided against jail and said he would find something to clean it up. The cop said "Use your shirt". The boy reluctantly took off hiss shirst, put it in the puddle and stomped on the t-shirt sponge! At this point the kid thought he was off the hook until the cop said "Now put that damn shirt back on"
As he stretched the wet shirt onto his body the cop told him to have a great Mardi Gras...and dissappeared back into the crowd.
Yep, that sounds like typical NOPD fascist thuggery. Nothing like demeaning a citizen when you have a badge to back it up!