NOLA must offer sober spaces for Mardi Gras

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While “family-friendly” parades and activities exist during Mardi Gras, it is no secret that most people feel that this holiday has a lot to do with drinking and partying. Alcohol infiltrates nearly every hour of the weekend, especially at Tulane, from fraternity parties to the tradition of partying all night before “Tequila Sunrise” Tuesday morning.

In respect and recognition of people who choose not to drink but still wish to enjoy the Mardi Gras holiday, Tulane and New Orleans should make more of an attempt to provide the sober population with opportunities to celebrate as well.

For those people who choose to stay sober during the holiday, there are still ways to have fun. Many of the parades, especially those held in the daytime and in Uptown New Orleans, are known to be tamer. You may also choose to spend the weekend at laid-back house parties and with friends who would not judge you for choosing not to drink. There are also Alcoholics Anonymous meetings through the weekend, which provide both support and an opportunity to socialize.

Some may choose to use this long weekend as an opportunity to go home or on a trip with other sober friends, one way to avoid the temptation completely. For anyone hoping to experience the culture of Mardi Gras, this is not an option, and those people should not feel obligated to leave the city in order to feel comfortable walking around without a drink in their hand. 

Opportunities for celebrating Mardi Gras while sober are only a very small portion of the events happening through the weekend, most of which involve alcohol or drugs. Even just walking down parade routes or Broadway Street, it is normal to have a drink spilled on you or to smell alcohol when in breathing distance of another person. 

Drinking has become a large part of the tradition of Mardi Gras, but this does not mean that it must take over every event. New Orleans should make an effort to schedule events suitable for non-drinkers and families during Mardi Gras weekend rather than just the weekend before. Tulane groups such as Tulane After Dark already provide spaces for people to enjoy their weekends sober and should continue this through Mardi Gras as well.

People who do choose to drink should feel free to do as they please, but they should also recognize there is a need for more sober spaces during Mardi Gras. This holiday, which is such a big part of the culture of New Orleans, should be accessible to all, whether or not they choose to drink.

This is an opinion article and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Hullabaloo. Robin is a freshmen at Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached at [email protected]