It’s “Super Gras” in New Orleans – the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras all rolled into one 10-day extravaganza. Welcome to the biggest party on earth. With Super Bowl XLVII this weekend and Mardi Gras all next week and weekend, it’s sure to be crazy around town. And in my 20 years as a criminal defense attorney in New Orleans, when it’s crazy around town, one thing is sure to happen – people are going to get arrested.
From years of experience, I have also gleaned plenty of ways to avoid this unhappy fate, and instead to enjoy yourself over these next number of festive days and nights – trouble free. So, here goes – my “un”official, top-secret, insider’s guide: the top 7 ways to avoid getting arrested while you party and enjoy the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras in New Orleans:
- Tip No. 1 – Drink responsibly. Sure, you will undoubtedly drink less responsibly than normal, but drinking even somewhat responsibly is probably still good enough to keep you out of trouble. In my experience, over 90% of the trouble people find themselves in during party time could be avoided if they were not so intoxicated. The urge to make bad decisions (or perhaps more the inability to avoid making bad decisions) is fueled by alcohol. Keep it somewhere above buzzed but under bombed, and you odds of avoiding trouble are greatly increased.
- Tip No. 2 - Be a lover, not a fighter. The quickest way for someone to get in trouble in party-related situations is to start a fight – and I’m not just talking about throwing punches. Noticeably loud and aggressive behavior between individuals leads to problems with law enforcement quickly, even if it doesn’t become physical. Disturbing the Peace by Tumultuous behavior is a common charge in situations where two people create an obnoxious disturbance, whether at a sporting event or a parade. Stay cool, and try to de-escalate any potentially volatile situations, and remember that it is likely that both parties involved in a fracas will be cited, so don’t rely on the defense that you were being wronged or that the other guy started it. Just walk away… tough guy.
- Tip No. 3 – Don’t argue with police officers. I spend a lot of my time dealing with New Orleans Police Officers, and I can tell you from my experience that the vast majority are pleasant and helpful. There are hundreds of police officers posted throughout the city right now, and they have a tough job to do over the next week and a half. I can almost promise you that at some point, if you spend any amount of partying around the French Quarter or Downtown New Orleans, you will be confronted in some minor way by a New Orleans Police Officer. Maybe you innocently crossed the street in front of a float a