Mardi Gras in New Orleans is like no other experience you have ever had. Most people come to New Orleans for Mardi Gras to party and have fun. However, there are some people whose sole mission is to take advantage of anyone who is unprepared for their plan.
The TUPD encourages you to enjoy the Carnival Season and suggests that you read the following information, which can assist you in having a safe Mardi Gras:
The New Orleans Police Department along with the assistance of several local, state and federal law enforcement agencies do an excellent job in policing the French Quarter and parade routes however, like many large cities, crimes do slip through the cracks.
Some general safety rules to keep in mind are:
Lock your residence hall doors at all times (you should do this whether you live on or off campus!) and do not let persons other than registered guests inside. Make sure you take the time to familiarize yourself with all residence hall rules as they may change during the season.
Attend parades in groups establish a well-known meeting place ahead of time so if anyone gets lost you'll know where to look. Walk on well-lit streets and limit what you carry on your person (e.g., a small amount of cash, some form of ID, health insurance cards and one credit card). When off-campus at parades or other events report any emergencies directly to the NOPD by dialing 911. Heavy traffic and congestion could limit the capability of TUPD officers to respond rapidly to off-campus locations. Have a plan for your return and make sure everyone is accounted for. If you carry a purse try and carry it across your torso and place important items in the front pocket.
Do not wander down empty streets late at night or in the early morning hours. This is the time when you are more likely to be targeted for a crime. Stay in populated, well-lit areas, and travel in groups!
Do not get into cars that aren't licensed taxis or Ubers or Lyfts that you didn't order through the app. Do not get into a vehicle with a driver who says they driver for Uber or Lyft but you didn't order or can't verify. They'll take you for your cash and potentially worse!
Don't park in the French Quarter or along a parade routes.
Exactly 2 hours before a parade, fleets of tow trucks remove all the unauthorized cars off the route. City tow trucks can remove a car in less than two minutes. All vehicular traffic is limited to residential and business purposes. Use parking lots and garages to avoid tickets and towing fees. If you plan to use a ride service such as Uber or Lyft plan ahead and ensure you are entering the correct vehicle as there may be imposters.
Download the Everbridge App.
If you have a "tulane.edu" address, you are eligible to download this free phone app directly on your phone. This app features a "virtual escort," a means of confidentially reporting a crime, and a function to assist us in locating you should you get lost. There is even a 'panic button' which will alert our dispatch center and put you directly in touch with the TUPD. The system only tracks data when you activate it. Your information remains on a secure server unless you activate it!
The bathrooms available in the French Quarter are few and far between.
To use the bathroom in a store or bar, you must buy something from them. Some places will even stamp your hand so you can come back for a repeat performance. There will be portable bathrooms located on several corners in the French Quarter but, as the days pass, they become very dirty and could make for an unpleasant experience.
Don't urinate in public
This is a violation of the City's ordinance and could lead to your arrest
Don't harass or hit Police Horses
It's not unusual to want to pet a police horse when you spot one peacefully standing amidst the chaos, keeping order from above. But you have to ask first and you have to be respectful. If you hit or othewise agitate a police horse, you will be arrested. To be safe you should assume that the same rule applies to hitting or agitate police officers as well.
Don't harass float riders or operators
It's easy to get lost in the action and want to get in on the fun of tossing throws, however throwing things at bands or floats is likely to get you removed from the parade and possibly arrested. If you want to see Mardi Gras from a float join a Krewe, they will love to have you.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Become familiar with the area in which you are in. If something seems like it is unsafe, follow your instincts (they are usually right).
Respect barricades, ropes or any other device that separates the street from the neutral grounds (median strip) and sidewalks.
These are clear lines put up by the city that should not be crossed. As this is a safety barrier monitored by police, it could lead to an arrest.
Get into the spirit of Mardi Gras.
Have a good time. Wear a costume. Enjoy what's happening in and around New Orleans. Explore all that New Orleans has to offer. Be respectful of our neighbors and remember you represent Tulane University.
If consuming alcohol, know your limits and ensure at least one member of your party remains sober to look-out for everyone's safety. Louisiana's Open Container Law permits the consumption of alcoholic beverages in public; however, the container cannot be a can or glass. Before leaving a bar or club, pour your drink into a "to go" cup. It is also a good idea to alternate your drinks with water, so you can stay hydrated. If you have consumed too much alcohol, please do not drive. Take a cab or alternate transportation such as UBER to your destination instead. Driving under the influence can lead to severe penalties by police!
Follow Instructions Given by Police.
The New Orleans Police Department as well as Louisiana State troopers are among the best when it comes to crowd-control. They know exactly where the line is between acceptable and unacceptable behavior during Carnival. If a police officer gives you instructions, they are usually relative to a safe practice, an attempt to shield you from an unforeseen danger, and/or maintain a safe flow of pedestrian traffic as to prevent injuries or other problems. If you fail to comply with the officer's instructions, you could be arrested. Police must resolve conflicts quickly in order to get back on the street.