New Orleans is a beautiful, wonderful city with a complicated history for those of us who are sober. Although plenty of people have gotten (and stayed) sober while living in the Big Easy, it’s also a city known for its partying ways. I mean, Bourbon Street is legendary and I for one still shudder whenever I think about my drunken nights there. However, despite its reputation, NOLA can also be a wonderful place for folks who are sober — and especially for anyone who wants to celebrate Mardi Gras in style.
Mardi Gras, also known as “Fat Tuesday,” is the day before the Lent. It’s traditionally been associated with a lot of partying ways because, during Lent, those who honor the Christian holiday tend to give up one of their vices. So, the day before, people indulge in a carnival-style party that has been going on since sometime around Medival times. Somehow, all this partying turned into lots and lots of drinking… But that’s okay. If Mardi Gras is something you want to celebrate, you CAN do it while sober.
In order to do that, we asked our Instagram audience what they planned to do during Mardi Gras while in recovery. Sure, some people simply said they were going to ignore the mid-February holiday and that’s okay. But if you want to do something a little extra special, here are five ideas for rocking Fat Tuesday without alcohol.
1. Eat all the things.
Don’t be fooled. There’s a lot of deliciousness going on during Mardi Gras and it has absolutely nothing to do with alcohol. Instead, you can indulge in ALL of the food things this time of year. Things that our audience suggested include pancakes, pancakes, and more pancakes. Of course, there are other yummy foods too. You can head to New Orleans and have some amazing spicy food. You can also have some pączki (a deep-friend Polish donut). And anything else you want…
The other thing you can try is simply having all of your sober buddies over for a big, fat dinner on Tuesday. Make whatever you like and just indulge… maybe even call it a Thanksgiving, part two. After all, isn’t Mardi Gras all about indulgence anyway?
2. See alligators.
If you’re exploring NOLA on Mardi Gras but don’t want to be caught in all of the craziness, then why not do some nature exploring in Louisiana? This can include going out on a swamp tour or simply going to see alligators (just be safe!). It may sound silly but doing something that doesn’t involve being around all of the drunken people may be just what you need as a fun, easy alternative to the Mardi Gras craziness.
3. Go to the daytime parade.
Of course, if you want, there are a lot of things you can do during Mardi Gras that does involve some of the usual craziness. There are plenty of balls and parades… But we recommend you go to the daytime parade since it’s the one that will definitely be the most family-friendly. And by “family-friendly” we mean that it’s going to have less booze, of course.
Just be warned that this course of action is not for the faint of heart. Definitely stay away from the parade if you feel that you might be triggered by seeing others drink since there’s no way to really prevent this even in the best of circumstances.
4. Go to a church fundraiser.
Since Mardi Gras is technically a response to Ash Wednesday, the Catholic Church may have something to say about it. If you’re religious or simply want to contribute to your community, then going to a church fundraiser may be the best thing you can do today. You can even see if there’s a nearby AA meeting or another sober meet-up in the area or at the church you’re going to — that way you’re supporting a cause that’s near and dear to your heart.
5. Enjoying time with loved ones.
At the end of the day, Mardi Gras is whatever you want to make of it. If you want to go to a parade or eat tons of food, that’s fine. There’s really no wrong or right answer here. But the one thing you can definitely do that will improve this random Tuesday in February is that you can spend it with your loved ones.
Whether you’re inviting your family over for a mid-week brunch or having your friends over for delicious mocktails, Fat Tuesday can be a great excuse to reconnect with the people in your life that you dearly treasure. Sure, it may be cold outside right now but this wintertime activity is too fun to pass up.
No matter what you decide to do on Mardi Gras or what part of the country you live in, remember that you can make this day as special or insignificant as you want. If you’re in New Orleans, then enjoy the day! But if you’re somewhere else in the country and want to just ignore it, that’s fine too. Of course, if you’d rather have an excuse to skip work and have a million pancakes… Don’t worry, we won’t judge.