Mardi Gras is a unique holiday. No other holiday in America encourages wanton behavior like this one! Mardi Gras first started as a religious holiday for Catholics during which they indulged in their favorite vices before entering in a long fast for Lent. Now there are hardly any religious overtones to the celebration but a whole lot of uninhibited fun. Most of the time this week long celebration is pretty safe, but it is helpful to know a few things. Here are some Mardi Gras safety tips that will help you stay unharmed.
Stay Close to Law Enforcement
Station your self along the parade route at a location close to law enforcement. You’ll see them on horseback and in groups together. Staying close to them will keep you safe. And it is always wise to know where to find a police officer if you need help.
Use Your Pockets
Pickpockets aren’t just criminals from the Victorian era, they are still working crowds today! Move your valuables to your front pockets. Put your driver’s license plus your cash in your front pockets. Also, put your cell phone there as well. Criminals aren’t just after your money. They’ll take anything that is not nailed down. Don’t wear pants that are too baggy. You won’t feel a pickpockets hands. Also, be aware if someone bumps into you an unusual way. Check your pockets immediately. Limit your jewelry wear too. Rings are sometimes easy to slide off.
Parking is always a challenge during Mardi Gras. If you are not fortunate enough to have accommodations close to the activities, then you’ll have to catch a shuttle or drive yourself. Using a shuttle service is smart but be sure you know when the return pick up times and locations are. If you drive, park in a well lit area that won’t endanger you. Also, avoid parking in yards or in make shift parking lots. There have been reports of people paying to park and not realizing that the “parking attendants” will be just scam artists taking their money. Park in legitimate parking lots.
You’ll see alot of craziness! And you might even see some bad behavior. Don’t let it rub off on you. Avoid running in the streets between floats. Grabbing candy off the road isn’t that important. Also, check with local ordinances before drinking in public. You could get arrested or get hurt. Flashing gets a lot of publicity but it is illegal. You could find yourself in jail.
Dress for Fun
Mardi Gras weather could be hot, cold, rainy or dry. Mardi Gras in the South is unpredictable. Be ready for anything! Check with the host city’s website to find out what the weather conditions will be in your area.