Mardi Gras, the most exciting and crazy time of the year, is almost here! This can be very busy for me as a municipal court lawyer in New Orleans, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few things you should keep in mind to keep out of jail this Mardi Gras season.
Public Intoxication or Disturbing the Peace
A vast majority of people in the French Quarter and along the parade route will be intoxicated. This is expected and isn’t a problem. But if you’ve had a few too many, there are certainly some things you should avoid: Being loud or aggressive, being rude, or causing a scene. Basically, have fun, but don’t call major attention to yourself.
Public Lewdness: Indecent Exposure or Public Urination
The unwritten rule for indecent exposure is above the waist is fine, but below the waist isn’t. Usually, women will not be arrested for flashing for beads. Arrests can still occur, but it is not very likely. However, male or female, keep your pants on. If you decide to expose yourself from the waist below, you will be arrested. Next is the public urination issue. The busy parts of the city will be packed, which will make it difficult to find a bathroom. You may be tempted to sneak down an empty alleyway and relieve yourself when no one is looking. Don’t risk it—you will be caught. The easiest way to avoid this is to plan ahead, setting up near a hotel, bar, or restaurant with a large bathroom.
There will be a heavy influx of Police horses patrolling the French Quarter, which allows easy access to the streets for crowd control. As a municipal court lawyer, I have represented more clients for animal cruelty charges than you would think. Please, ask the police officer permission before you touch the horses. Though this may seem like common sense, people often have a little too much to drink and get rowdy. If the police officer has any reason to think you are upsetting the horse, or making it uncomfortable, he or she will not hesitate to arrest you.
Remember, Mardi Gras is a huge public event that is intended for fun, so don’t be afraid to have some! But take my advice, because going to jail will certainly rain on anyone’s parade.