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It's Mardi Gras!
The season of beads and parades is upon us, which means it's time to party. There will be loud music and louder screams. There will be drinks, food and dancing in the street. There will also be cops.
The holiday's debauchery is sure to draw local law enforcement out if its winter hidey-holes, which means arrests and citations for many. So before you head out to join in the fun, read up on these common Mardi Gras crimes. Then don't commit them.
1. Carrying an open container. Think you can walk around a Mardi Gras celebration with a red solo cup of beer? Think again. Most communities have open container laws banning the practice. Yours may not have made an exception for the event. Check with police before you cruise Main Street while sippin' on your gin n' juice.
2. Public intoxication. Law enforcement expects drunken revelry during Mardi Gras celebrations, but they also expect you to remain in control of your faculties. If you act like a drunken idiot, you may end the night as a drunken idiot behind bars.
3. Indecent exposure. The whole boob flashing thing may be par for the course in New Orleans, but it may be out of the question in your hood. Ladies, keep your shirts on. Men, keep your pants up. Think of the children -- and the cold.
4. Public urination. For the last time, peeing in public is illegal -- even if you aren't exposing yourself to fellow parade-goers. It's unsanitary and carries a big fat fine.
5. Driving under the influence. This is the worst Mardi Gras crime of all. Celebrate all you want, but make plans for alternative transportation. The season of Lent is about Jesus' death -- don't make it about yours.