Mardi Gras is fun, but watch out for those beads

Mar. 6—Whilst in New Orleans last weekend for Mardi Gras, I discovered a fun new game: Dodge the Drunks on Bourbon Street.

My girlfriend, Missie, and I weaved through the inebriated masses, from one sidewalk to the next, sidestepping sloshed sorority sisters and brushing past loud basic bros. We managed to traverse the thoroughfare unscathed and eventually settled in at a jazz club with other adults.

Well, it wasn't just adults. Some of the college kids found their way in, much to the chagrin of the hostess. She confided to me that "kids" were not their normal clientele, and frankly, it was driving her crazy having to closely inspect all their IDs.

Everyone inside behaved, though, and it was a pleasant respite from the madness of the Mardi Gras festivities. See, this was my first Mardi Gras, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I don't tolerate large crowds for long.

Dodging drunks is actually easier than dodging beads. We attended parades on St. Charles Avenue that Saturday, and if you weren't paying attention, a five-pound Mardi Gras necklace might whop you upside the head. In fact, I saw one poor girl sporting an ice pack. Head on a swivel, kid.

Most of those distributing beads from floats lobbed them, but a few were hurling them as if they were trying to strike out Shohei Ohtani. The sky also rained foam footballs, bedazzled plungers, toilet paper and commemorative cups.

Yes, you read that right: bedazzled plungers. Missie's friend Lisa is a member of the Tucks Krewe, so naturally, a lot of their floats and swag are related to bathroom humor, which is right up my alley. I especially loved the Royal Outhouse float, which featured some guys standing inside a giant toilet.

Missie scored a pair of toilet seat flip-up shades, which I will steal from her the first chance I get.

I wish she had procured them a day earlier, because then I would have dared her to wear them to Antoine's on Friday night. It's a fancy schmancy restaurant, which means I had to actually wear khakis (ew) and a button-up shirt. At least I didn't have to wear a coat and tie.

I will say that the food was exquisite. I had duck for the first time and, no, it doesn't taste like chicken. It tastes like ... well, duck, I guess. I also had corn and crab bisque, and bread pudding for dessert.

We were both so stuffed that we just wandered around for a bit and then back to the hotel, straight to bed. It was divine misery.

Back to Saturday. We accumulated so much parade swag that we had to stuff it all in a large bag. It must have weighed 50 pounds, and of course I had to haul it around. I told people I was Mardi Claus and that I had gifts for all the naughty boys and girls.

We're going back next year, and I can't wait. This time we're going to ride on one of the Tucks floats. Better get my throwing arm in shape.

BRAD LOCKE is senior sports writer for the Daily Journal. Contact him on Twitter @bradlocke or via email at brad.locke@journalinc.com.