In New Orleans, the solution to the open container conundrum is the “go cup,” as in “taking your drink with you to go,” presumably to another bar, restaurant, or party. Local drinking establishments even provide these for you at the door, free of cost, because while you can openly imbibe from a plastic container or aluminum beer can, it’s still illegal to do so from a glass bottle. Like it or not, dem’s da rules, podnah. And it’s worked out pretty well for us so far.
How did the Big Easy land such an exemption from the nation-wide prohibition on fresh-air imbibing? Well, as it turns out there is no federal law banning outdoor drinking. In fact, as recently as 1975, drinking outdoors was legal almost everywhere. Open container laws are the result of dozens upon dozen of pieces of local legislation, and the rules vary between states, cities, and even the streets themselves. The history is quite fascinating. New Orleans didn’t pass a law allowing it. They simply didn’t ban it.