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Where the streets have no shame

By Chris Jackson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 12, 1999
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letters@wildcat.arizona.edu


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Wildcat File Photo
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Chris Jackson


It’s that time of year, when Catholics are partying it up, just before

they all have to basically become monks for the period known as

Lent; that time during which, when I was a kid, my mom made me eat a lot of fish and give up chocolate for a while.

While I’m not a practicing Catholic anymore, I was more than willing to join those who are for this celebratory period, known down in New Orleans as Mardi Gras.

The words Mardi Gras apparently mean, as near as I can translate them, “Stupid Drunken Celebration.”

For a period of about two weeks the people around a small avenue called Bourbon Street wear beads, get drunk and try to convince all the women present to get naked.

Cause for feminists to cringe and frat boys to get excited, Mardi Gras is not an experience to walk into unprepared as I did.

As a result, I was left with the hangover of the decade, only a few crummy photos and rumors of having done things I don’t recall.

So, being the magnanimous sort that I am, here’s what I learned, for the benefit of others.

1. Do not go there anywhere near Fat Tuesday, which this year happens to be falling on Feb. 16. That’s the final day of the celebration, when a population equal to China and India combined tries to fit onto narrow little Bourbon Street. Based upon measurements taken by my very drunk friend Honeycutt, Bourbon Street is only 30 stumbles wide.

2. Take a lot of money, but not your wallet. There are an infamous amount of pickpockets out there, so stick your money elsewhere. And don’t wind up like my friends, Adam and Deke, who spent $100 on alcohol in half an hour. As a result, Adam was passed out on the sidewalk by the lacrosse field the next day until noon and was calling everyone “Shirley.”

3. Beads are gold. You can buy beads, steal beads, get them tossed to you during the parade (but those are mainly crappy beads) or just pick them up off the street. The bigger and more elaborate the beads, the nuttier things people will do for them, as you may have heard. And ladies, some guys will do some pretty naughty things as well for those things, so it works both ways.

4. Watch your alcohol intake. This is especially important if you go with friends, and have no desire to see any of your friends naked. I saw Honeycutt naked. Hell, everyone saw Honeycutt naked. And it was all because he drank like a fish.

5. Good drinks — the Hurricane, the Tropical Itch, the Horny Gator. Lethal drink — the Hand Grenade. You can get drunk smelling that one.

True, it may not exactly adhere to Christian values to be hanging off a balcony, exposing your breasts for a two-dollar string of plastic beads, wasted out of your mind, but at least it can give you a few more things to think about giving up when the time comes.

Chris Jackson is the Wildcat sports editor and a senior majoring in journalism. His hangover has now progressed into an upper-respiratory infection, or, New Orleans’ Revenge, as he likes to call it. He can be reached at Chris.Jackson@wildcat.arizona.edu.