The 29 Worst Decisions You Can Make in New Orleans

New Orleans is one of the greatest places in the world to eat, drink, and party. Everybody knows this. But with that eating, drinking, and partying comes an extremely high risk of making bad decisions (especially when done at these places). Here are the ones that you really need to avoid...

1. Hand Grenade number four

If three of these overproof, vaguely melon-flavored booze bombs don’t do the trick, you’re in trouble. You don’t want to taste one (or four) of these in reverse. 

2. Open-toed shoes on Bourbon St

We’re not exactly sure what comprises the black toxic slop hiding inside the 200-year-old potholes on Bourbon, but you don’t want it on your feet, that’s for sure. 

3. Taking home someone you met at the toilet-themed bar

The John seems as though it was invented specifically as an establishment in which one will make bad decisions.  This is the ultimate one.  Beware. 

4. Walking home alone after some drinks, late at night/early in the morning

Not just a bad decision, but a dangerous one. Call a cab, and stay safe. 

5. Eating Bourbon St pizza, EVER

There are so many places to find a great po' boy or muffaletta in New Orleans, why would you possibly choose to eat the saddest, soggiest, greasiest slice the world has ever known?

Flickr/Michael Bentley

6. Eating a Lucky Dog after one too many during a night out

A hot dog might seem like a good idea when you’re soused in the Quarter, but unless you’re Ignatius Reilly in the flesh, you’re going to regret it.

7. Sparking up that glaucoma aid in public

This is a good way to attract the unwelcome attention of the NOPD. 

8. Speaking of the NOPD: do not, under any circumstances, mess with a police horse

That’s some serious bad idea jeans, right there. 

9. Messing with or otherwise annoying a gutter-punk’s dog

Or a gutter-punk, for that matter. But they always have dogs. 

10. Removing your fig leaf

It’s true that the police here tend to turn a blind eye to public nudity when that nudity involves female breasts, but they will immediately chuck you in the clink if you somehow get coaxed into unzipping your fly and showing the world your trouser snake on a public street. Don’t do this. 

11. Wearing clothing for a night out that you’d not like to reek of smoke the next day

There are still many pro-smoking bars and clubs in NOLA. Invest in Febreze and/or a decent dry-cleaner.

Flickr/Thomas Hawk

12. Heading home early

Everyone knows all the good stuff starts to happen around midnight, especially when it comes to music. Drink a Coke and suck it up -- it’s worth it to hang around. 

13. Whistling or snapping at a bartender to get their attention

This might be universal, but it’s a grave no-no in the Big Easy. The barkeep (usually) has eyes. They’ll get to you, if you’re kind and patient, and especially if you tend to tip generously. 

14. Forgetting “where you got dem shoes”


15. Forgetting to hydrate, especially during the summer

Water will forever be your friend in this town. Long stints in the sun with only a cooler filled with Long Island Iced Teas to drink, less so. 

16. Leaving a personal item on a barstool and assuming it’ll be fine if you walk away for a bit

This applies 3x for dive bars. 

17. Passing out at The Club Ms. Mae’s

Cheapest drinks in town, open 24/7, and known for taking photographic evidence of sleeping patrons for their “Wall of Shame”.


18. Not checking the weather conditions before heading to Jazz Fest or similar outdoor festivals

A compact umbrella is always a good choice, but if it rained last night and you’re planning to wear flip-flops to the Fair Grounds, be prepared to have your tootsies caked in mud and horse manure all day. 

19. Fighting a child or an elderly person for a Mardi Gras throw

Just hand it over, already.

Mardi Gras
Flickr/Allison Turrell

20. Stealing a Mardi Gras throw that is clearly intended for someone else

This phenomenon can be found readily when it comes to Muses shoes, Zulu coconuts, and other highly sought-after Carnival items. 

21. Picking up parade doubloons off the street

An excellent way to get your digits stomped. 

22. Deciding to go anywhere in your vehicle near a parade route before a parade begins

Unless you like, enjoy, being stuck in Carnival gridlock for four hours. 

23. Bringing a gun to a parade


Flickr/Phil Kates

24. In the same vein: not bringing a hat, sunscreen, and other protective gear

A sunburn is a truly spectacular way to ruin the crap out of festival season. 

25. Buying alcohol/tobacco for the pleading teenager outside the convenience store or bar

Because those kids are often working for the police. Be forewarned. 

26. Getting naked at Snake and Jake’s in order to procure free drinks

It might sound like a sweet deal at the time...

Flickr/Football Schedule

27. Wearing Atlanta Falcons gear and not being fully prepared for the consequences

There will be a torrent of taunts and good-natured ribbing (but usually not violence, thank goodness... Saints fans are overwhelmingly friendly folk). Especially if you are one of the players.

28. Leaving your hurricane preparedness to chance

Stock up at the beginning of the season, and stay stocked. And heaven forbid you decide to “stick it out” when the governor, mayor, and hundreds of meteorologists are telling you to get the hell out of town. That’s a decision that could cost you your life.

29. Leaving New Orleans for any appreciable length of time

Because we “know what it means”.

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Scott Gold is a writer in New Orleans. Follow him on Twitter: @scottgold.