Mr. Night is still a virgin. Despite St. Louis roots that stretch back to 1978, he's never attended the Soulard Mardi Gras. Maybe it's because he sneaks nips from a flask during office hours instead of going to the bars (he does). Or maybe he's a party pooper (he is).
Enter Ms. Day, who knows her way around a hurricane glass or, more accurately, a hurricane sports bottle with a handle, lid and straw ("the handle is the importantest part," Ms. Day swears). A former resident of Soulard and self-proclaimed "Pardi, Brah!" expert, Ms. Day can distinguish Menard from 11th streets and has survived many a Mardi Gras campaign. What follows is good advice for every novice, even if you're as ignorant as Mr. Night ("Hey!").
"It's always cold, and it usually rains at some point," Ms. Day says knowingly. "You have to wear something cute, but it also has to be warm." Mr. Night's suggestion of black Jedi-style robes is quickly shot down. "You also have to wear beads, but you shouldn't buy beads, and you shouldn't show your boobs." Ms. Day's counsel is wise, but why anyone would desire a peek at Mr. Night's peach-fuzzed man-boobs is beyond him. If you haven't been smart enough to stockpile beads from Mardi Gras past, or if you're a Mardi Gras virgin, buy them from a vendor in Soulard; Ms. Day's male friends recommend that you "be sure to get nice ones if you want to see nice boobs." Or just catch beads (and boobs) at the parade, which begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, February 5, at Broadway and Chouteau Avenue.
"Don't forget to eat a good meal, because of all the drinking. And meat-on-a-stick and corn dogs, while tasty, won't fill you up." Ms. Day would know, as she eats "hella corn dogs." So either get up early and have a big breakfast, or show up to the parade late with your belly full and your Beer Gloves on.
Speaking of booze, "Should you purchase drinks immediately and begin working promptly, or should you pace yourself throughout the early afternoon?" asks Mr. Night with childlike naïveté. "Start. Drinking. Now." It's not just Ms. Day's advice, it is her Mardi Gras Mantra.
But won't you receive a ticket from the police for walking down the street with a drink in (either) hand? (The look of shocked disbelief Ms. Day gives Mr. Night at this point is scalding.) Letting this question pass unanswered, Ms. Day advises that "once you're three-fourths of the way through a hurricane, head for the bathroom, and get in line." Outdoor urination, like restraint, is a no-no at Mardi Gras.
Now might be a good time to mention that with paid parking on Laclede's Landing, you can hop a free shuttle bus to Chouteau Avenue and Fourth Street. Additionally, MetroLink has shuttles from the Civic Center stop (14th Street and Spruce Avenue), but you need to buy a MetroLink ticket and a shuttle ticket, which you must stash in a safe place ("sewn in the hem of Jedi robes" is not a safe place); by the end of the day (Soulard bars shut down at 11 p.m.), your hands, robes and an automated-ticket machine are a mathematical equation you can't solve.
Any other questions? Visit www.mardigrasinc.com for up-to-date information. -- Mr. Night & Ms. Day