The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
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Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024
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The truth as I see it

Fat Tuesday

I’ve driven across Lake Ponchartrain five times, but I’ve never seen it once. This time was the best.

It’s after dark, and “Highway to Hell” is blasting on the radio as I tear across the bridge at 96 mph.

It’s 4 p.m. on Monday and I am drunk off my ass.

I’ve got an eight-hour drive this evening, but I’ve also got about 28 ounces of Daiquiri to pound and a parade to get to..

It’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and man, there’s nothing better on earth.

The food rules your face off. Franky Johnny’s Bar ‘n’ Grill made us wait for 36 minutes, but after you charge through enough Abita and automated gambling machines, you stop caring. When we order, it’s not so much what we wanted as it is what’s on the menu that can be appropriately slurred out.

Two guys from Texas Tech are recounting a bunch of random drug-test scares and one of the Tulaniacs I’m crashing with is holding honorably close to her promise never to drink again. She’s at the five-hour mark and God bless her, she’s going strong. Her boyfriend has a point, though; there is no way it’s going to last past Tuesday.

I got a sandwich with some combination of oysters, bread and tartar sauce and everyone else got whatever the hell they wanted. Who cares, right?

If you’ve never been to New Orleans, there are a few things you need to know.

First of all, driving is chaos – pure and simple. It’s not the controlled rude recklessness of Dallas, where people cut you off and honk just to be mean. Death is really one idiot away, so nobody goes more than 20 mph, and with good reason.

There are unmarked streets that suddenly transform into a three-way intersection hell-fest. So if you are coming up to a red light, and “don’t really feel like stopping,” you just go right ahead there, champ. It’s DIY driving.

Most of the garbage from two years ago has faded. Last year was a lot worse. The doors still had X’s sprayed on them to determine how many bodies the police found inside. The weirdest thing was that some places had piles of keys lying around, no explanation.

Parading is a verb; it means, the act of going to parades and basically going all Ferris Bueller, but with whiskey and beer. Parading rocks.

Another thing that rocks is the locals. Having a good parade to go to swings. Having a bunch of men in their fifties providing beer and barbecue, that just rules. Then the Bacchus parade comes by and it starts raining beads. After a while, you learn to ignore the “bad bead” floats and focus on the real prizes, like rubber ducky beads and multi-colored fleur-de-lis panoplies.

The real trick to catching a decent set of beads is attracting attention to yourself. Last year we used a bottle of Jack that somehow became empty by midnight. This year, I’ll just go with a cowboy hat. If there’s one thing I have taught the world, it’s that nothing can get more attention than a rowdy, drunk Texan trying to get free jewelry. Actually, a monkey with a gun could probably do a better job, but we didn’t have any monkeys and I keep my gun tucked into the back of my pants. You never know when you might need to cap someone in a hurry.

Another thing you don’t see a lot of is women bearing their chests. A disgusting habit brought on by years of misogynist male pigheaded perversion, you’d think there’d be topless women every six feet. It’s actually a lot closer to every nine or 10. It’s also one of those Bourbon Street “touristy” things, like nude beaches in Europe.

In other words, the biggest participants are women in their fifties and awkwardly shaped women just rolling through town for the night. Either way, it’s not one of those “this is awesome” moments.

In fact, it’s a lot closer to “Wow, I sure hope your parents see this one on Comedy Central and decide not to disown you as a result” pity stares.

Sometimes it’s good to get drunk, and just go out and see bright colors. Not too much, but just enough that years from now, when your friends come to town, they can start to tell your kids about the crazy things you did and you can jump in and tell them to shut up, even though you really don’t mind because hey, she was ugly, but it was “kind of funny.”

Cops are pretty nonchalant; the open bottle rule in New Orleans functions about how the seatbelt rule functions in Dallas. Basically, they can pull you over and might give you a ticket, but honestly, it’s a matter of personal preference.

Another thing they don’t really mind people talking to them when they are completely slammed. Honestly, there are so many people trashed in this city that as long as you don’t have a knife out, you can do pretty much whatever you want. That’s a big change from the “why isn’t your shirt tucked in” HPPD or the even worse, “Why are you staring at the squirrel” SMUPD.

So now it’s 5:23 p.m.. We’ve got a parade to get to and I’ve got a few more hours on my bender before I make the eight-hour time warp back to Texas.

Next year we’re all going to have graduated and have jobs, but for now it’s a fridge full of beer and $1 you-call-it’s at Miss Maes. Peace out.

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