This year, I crossed Mardi Gras in New Orleans off of my bucket list… 

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Any holiday with the word “fat” in the title has to be celebrated to the fullest! I have never been to New Orleans before, and thought this would be the perfect city to kick off another year of adventures. 

Here are my 5 tips on surviving the wild experience of Mardi Gras! 

1. Squad: have a great one. 

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My college roommate Patty and I made a New Years Resolution to reunite… deciding to go hard rather than to go home. An old roommate is the perfect travel buddy, because sharing a small space is nothing new. You’re already 100% comfortable being around them, down to the very last *sllllurp* of a retainer. Dorm life has prepared us for anything– even sharing a queen size bed with a Ryan Neumann sized friend! 

Reuniting with college friends after graduation can be difficult, but it’s even more of a challenge when they’re in the Marines! But, when you have friends as awesome the Neumdawg himself, you make it happen. Now, we have the most fun memories from Bridgeport, to San Diego, to New Orleans! 


2. Fuel: consume it.

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There is no shortage of delicious food options here, so there is no excuse to drink on an empty stomach. Banana foster pancakes at Monty’s on the Square were exactly what I needed to kick off National Pancake Day. While you’re there, get the Bloody Mary with pickle vodka… and then get another one in a to go cup.

I couldn’t leave New Orleans without trying some local flavor. The Jazz Cafe on Decatur filled me up with all the jambalayaaa my heart could desiyaaa! 

If you’re looking for something quick to keep you going, there are Willie’s Chicken Shacks everywhere! But, the most important fuel you need to keep you going: water! Don’t forget to hydrate… or you may actually die. 


3. Drive Thru Daiquiris: tread easily. 

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We had a little time to kill before heading to our airbnb, so our New Orleans tour guide Ryan suggested we go to the drive thru Daiquiri place. What a foreign concept. There are a hundred reasons why this makes no sense at all, and I think that was kind of the beauty of it.

None of the flavors had the name of an actual flavor, so we ordered at random and called it all fruit punch (…with a hint of mango). Drinking them, we figured there couldn’t possibly be any alcohol in them. I mean, they were served from a drive thru! 

Then, Patty and I got out of the car and realized how we were terribly wrong and these daiquiris were essentially frozen 4lokos. (That’s Ryan’s “I told you so” face in the picture…) (GO BRONCOS!)

This warning goes for any drink you get on Bourbon St, from Hurricanes to Jesters: tread easily. They’ll getchya. 


4. Jams: turn up the funk.

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Keep track of the songs that get you hyped during your adventure. A good playlist sets the tone- literally! Our taste went from funk, to hip hop, to alice in chains (yo whaddup!). It is hard to make a trip playlist ahead of time, because you never really know the songs that are going to make an impact on the journey. You could hear a song on a parade float, and not get it out of your head for days! 

I love saving playlists for each of the trips I go on. It’s so interesting to see the type of music you end up listening to with different travel buddies, in different locations. They make for a great memory when you’re back home reminiscing! 

Get my New Orleans playlist here!


5. Surrender Your Naps: go hard or go home.

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If you’re coming to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, be prepared to fully commit. If you nap, you’re done. There are too many parades to see, beads to catch, and fireball shots to take out of bowls because you have no cups. 

Mardi Gras was one of the most outrageous festivities I’ve ever been a part of. I most definitely feel that I have to revisit New Orleans to fully experience the city, aside from the craziness of the celebrations. Being able to reunite with two of my favorite fellow Pioneers made this adventure amazing before it even began. I will be laughing about the new memories we’ve made for the rest of my life… and by memories, I mean GoPro footage, because who really remembers anything from Mardi Gras any way?

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