Surviving the Pardi: Tips for a successful Mardi Gras

Ellierose Jackson, Contributing Writer

You can feel it in the air — the flustered excitement has already begun; Mardi Gras is coming, and we all know it. Whether you are a seasoned veteran or a nervous newbie, there is no denying the thrill of preparing for what may be the most absurd event of your life.

Tension rises as we embark on the start of Mardi Gras season. Students may be asking questions like: “Where can I buy a cute fanny pack?” “Why did my professor make our midterm the day after Fat Tuesday?” “In what world am I expected to party all day straight, for six days straight, and return back to student life unfazed?”

Ellie Weko

For some, Mardi Gras may feel like an uphill battle against outright exhaustion, while for others, it may be pure heaven. To me, the beauty of Mardi Gras lies in its uncertainty as you will never truly be able to predict just what might happen.

Whether this is your first Mardi Gras or last, it is always good to get some tips. I have collected and compiled some of the best advice that I hear around campus from experienced Tulane students to share with anyone looking to maximize the fun and minimize the meh.

Reduce, reuse, rewear!

Dollskill and IHeartRaves are classic suppliers of the typical Tulane Mardi Gras wardrobe, but you don’t have to drop a bag to partake in the fun of dressing up this season.

It’s easy to become awestruck by the seemingly limitless options and occasional markdown deals on these sites. Don’t forget that many of your peers may be purchasing outfits off the same page! Although I personally find joy in unexpectedly matching my outfit with friends, if you hope to stand out in the sea of sequins, fur, and green, purple and gold, try visiting a local thrift store to pick up some unique pieces. Buffalo Exchange on Magazine Street or Red White and Blue on Jefferson Highway are two great places to find more original outfits.

Simply finding one or two pieces that can be worn throughout the weekend will help you achieve the uniqueness you may search for, and even if you don’t purchase anything, the thrift always provides fun and wacky outfit inspiration. Second-hand sites like Depop are another great option if you prefer to shop online.

Any Tulane student would be lying if they say they don’t have a box chock-full of fun party pieces hidden somewhere in their room; try wearing a friend’s used outfits, or doing an outfit swap mid-Mardi Gras weekend to save money. 

Fanny-pack must-haves

A good fanny is vital — you will thank yourself for investing in a large, durable fanny pack. Not only can you find them in fun prints and colors, but the beauty of the fanny lies in your capability to store all the Mardi essentials while being able to keep your hands available to catch throws. Inside, it’s wise to keep the following necessities: bandaids — in case of impromptu injury —, a portable charger — duh —, a note with your best friend’s phone number — in case of emergency —, tissues, hand sanitizer and wipes, snacks, cash for bathroom access, some source of caffeine and liquid IV. 

It’s all in the prep

Although unexpected occurrences are never fully avoidable, try to plan out the details of your Mardi Gras. Decide on a communal meeting spot if anyone gets lost and check out the parade route maps on WDSU Parade Tracker app. You can stay on campus any weekend and have fun, remember to prioritize the parades. This is a very special experience, so make use of it.

Stock up on some freezer meals, snacks and comfort items a week in advance. Many stores and restaurants close for the entirety of the weekend, and Mardi Gras is a challenging time to run out of daily essentials.

Prepare yourself for fun, but also set realistic expectations. If you need to take a day off for some vital rejuvenation, don’t beat yourself up about it. There are both ups and downs in the experience, so expect at least one crummy morning or a long night, and know your limits.

Extra advice from Pardi pros:

“Try everything and don’t have expectations so you can just enjoy the week as it comes.”

— Will Adam, senior 

“Mardi Gras is the cherry on top for Tulane students. There’s endless opportunities for students to engage in the New Orleans culture, explore further into the city, and of course, drink. My best piece of advice would be, don’t think that much into it; everyone is happy to be there, and no one really cares what you do or don’t do. Dress in as much or as little as you want. Express yourself however you feel confident. And most importantly, surround yourself with the people you love and can have the best time with.”

— Avery Solomon, junior 

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

— Margot Barberich, senior

“My biggest piece of advice for a Mardi Gras first-timer is to be ready for absolutely anything. Make sure you have a safe place for all your stuff, and always have a buddy. Have no expectations but know you’re in for an amazing time.”

— Irene Beldiman, sophomore 

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