Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Well, we made it through January. In St. Louis this meant surviving just a few bitterly cold days and a couple days where it was actually enjoyable to be outside. It also means Mardi Gras is, as my boyfriend says, comin' in hot. In just 11 short days, thousands will descend on Soulard for a day of hurricanes, beads and some more hurricanes. For those of you who don't know, St. Louis is Mardi Gras' second city. We in the Lou don't laissez les bonne temps roulez as much as those in N'awlins, but we throw quite the party. While Soulard Mardi Gras is amazing and so memorable, it can also be a little hectic. Here are few ways to get you through the day, with very few headaches. No guarantees for the next morning.

DO pack your purse.  Although you'll be in an area known for its bars, you will definitely need to fill your purse with more than lip gloss and mints. It will be a long day. Bathrooms will be hard to come by and lines will be long. I'd recommend packing some toilet paper, stain remover (remember, hurricanes will be flowing), hand sanitizer and maybe a snack or two. Also, it wouldn't be a bad idea to invest in a portable iPhone charger. Again, long day. Lots of photo opportunities.

DON'T rely on your debit card. Because of the thousands of people partaking in the celebration, bathrooms are a struggle, and a lot of the shops and restaurants will actually charge you to use their restrooms. I paid five dollars at a flower shop and was able to use the restroom as much as I wanted throughout the day. From what I could tell, most places have a similar system and price. And trust me, it will be the best five dollars you'll spend all day. A lot of the churches will also be selling food and drinks for cheaper than the restaurants, and they don't take plastic, so make sure to hit an ATM before heading down on Saturday.

DO leave the car at home. A lot of the roads will be closed leading up to the parade and traffic will be a nightmare for the rest of the day. It's not a bad idea to take a cab down to the parade that morning and take a cab or an Uber home at the end of the day.

DON'T dress for the bars. Trust me, it is definitely tempting to dress to the nines on Mardi Gras. You'll be visiting a few bars and you will probably run into at least ten people from high school or college. And of course, you'll pose for tons of pictures. Your followers have to see how many beads you scored, right? Resist the urge to dress in your best clothes and those heels. You'll be in close quarters and who knows what could get spilled. You'll also be standing and walking most of the day, so comfy shoes are an absolute must.

I know it sounds funny to post advice about a party, but trust me. It's good to be prepared. It is a lonnnnng day. So so so fun, but long and a little overwhelming. Most importantly, remember to have fun. Even though it gets a little crazy, the entire Mardi Gras season is a blast! Hope to see you there in your best yellow, green and purple. And of course, 100 pounds of beads!