Happy Mardi Gras!
While Tampa Bay is still picking colorful Gasparilla beads off the streets, New Orleans is preparing for a celebration that puts even Gasparilla to shame! Today is Mardi Gras, the final wild celebration before the beginning of Lent.
The History of Mardi Gras
Also known as Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, and Pancake Tuesday, Mardi Gras is a Catholic holiday. It’s celebrated by excessive behavior, like eating fatty foods, dressing colorfully, and attending vibrant parades full of beads, masks, music, and revelry. During Mardi Gras, people get all their sinful, indulgent behavior out of their system, before the start of Lent on the next day. In Catholic tradition, Lent, which goes on for 46 days, is a time for repentance and prayer. Many observers give up a luxury, like chocolate, alcohol, or watching TV, during this period. It ends with Easter, the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus.
For observers of Lent, Mardi Gras is an important day of recognizing sin. But for everyone else, it’s the perfect reason to party! The holiday is celebrated across the United States, but nothing competes with the revelry in New Orleans, Louisiana. In New Orleans, a city known for its French heritage, Mardi Gras celebrations go on during the two-week period leading up to Mardi Gras. Much like Gasparilla, the parades in New Orleans involve elaborate floats manned by colorful “krews,” who throw beads, plastic coins, and other small goodies out into the crowd. For many, the parades are also synonymous with heavy drinking, and tourists and locals alike wander down New Orleans’s infamous Bourbon Street long into the night.
Preventing Mardi Gras Injuries
Like any other event that involves crowds and alcohol, Mardi Gras has led to its fair share of accidents. A few years ago, 28 people were injured in New Orleans when a drunk driver plowed into a crowd of revelers, and 17 people were injured during a Mardi Gras celebration in Alabama when a driver drove onto the sidewalk. In Louisiana, it is the deadliest holiday of the year, and as many bars offer Mardi Gras themed celebrations, overindulgence can become a problem anywhere, not just New Orleans.
If you’re planning to go out tonight, here are some tips to keep in mind throughout your celebrations:
- Before heading to a party, bar, or parade, have a plan. Have someone in your group agree to be the designated driver, or arrange to stay at a nearby hotel or friend’s house. It’s also a good idea to have the number of a few local cabs or a ride-sharing app on your phone.
- Eat before you head out. Celebrate Mardi Gras by having a juicy burger, a cheesy pizza, or something else heavy and indulgent. Not only is it tasty, but it will keep you from drinking on an empty stomach.
- Stay hydrated , and alternate alcoholic drinks with water or soda.
- At parties or bar, keep your drink with you at all times. Mardi Gras is sometimes filled with innocent shenanigans, but a drugged drink is no laughing matter.
- If you feel intoxicated, do not drive!
- If you decide to walk to an event, rather than drive, be aware of reckless drivers. Always use crosswalks, obey traffic signals, and wear bright clothing.
- Even if you make good choices, remember that others did not—stay aware at all times!
Happy Mardi Gras!
As they say in Cajun French, “laissez le bon temps rouler” during Mardi Gras—let the good times roll! But no matter how you choose to celebrate this and other holidays like St. Patrick’s Day and New Year’s Eve, stay safe while having a good time.
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.