Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Mardi Gras Rant

If you're looking for a rant against Mardi Gras, you'll have to look somewhere else.

I love Mardi Gras season. I love being involved in planning and carrying events throughout the season. I love Mardi Gras more than I love 97% of the world's population I'm pretty sure. Below I am going to list some things I've heard about Mardi Gras Grand Parade Day more than once and respond how I really want to. I can do this because it's my little piece of the internet.

On "No Coolers, Cans, Bottles or Backpacks"

"What do you mean I can't bring in my own alcohol?"

If you are really asking that then either 1) you are underage 2) clueless as to how the world works or 3) someone who wants to get super drunk and start shit.

I'll respond in kind 1) you're underage 2) you do realize this costs money, right? 3) We'd rather not have you in the neighborhood at all, but if we have to we like the idea of a bartender cutting you off when you've had enough.

Also, if you're bringing your own alcohol in I bet you aren't going to bring a trash bag in to dispose of it properly. I don't trust you to clean up after yourself.

"Ahh, Mardi Gras is just a moneygrab"

Who exactly do you think is making money off this? The bartender having to deal with your cheap ass not tipping? The non-profit running the beer both who is trying to make money to spend on community services? The bar owner who has to pay for employees and products on top of insurance in case you do something stupid? The folks at Mardi Gras Inc who put this show on? You do realize that the Mardi Gras Foundation ultimately puts this show on, correct? That would be a non-profit that funnels money back into the neighborhood. Soulard had new trees, fencing and electric in our parks for events among other things. Downtown has some beautiful landscaping paid for with funds raised by Mardi Gras.

You've also got countless other service industry folks who take care of all of the folks that come into town.

"What do you mean I can't bring a backpack in?"

Because it's really easy to hide things in backpacks. Like things that hurt people. In case you live in a land of rainbows and unicorns, let me tell you that there are some bat-shit crazy people in the world. Do you realize the cluster that getting into the neighborhood would be if security had to check even 1,000 backpacks?

"Then just don't check them"

I'd rather not die. Thank you.

"But it's cold"

How exactly is your backpack going to help that? You do realize the difference between a backpack and a coat, right?

"But I'm a DJ, I have to spin"

Anyone could say that. I, for one, don't trust you so I want your bag searched. I don't want a security officer wasting their time searching your bag. Make arrangements with the establishment paying you to spin or whatever you do.

"But we were allowed to carry them in last year" (same DJ)

Judging by the astounding amount of common sense you just used, I am fairly confident that a Google Chromebook could do this "spinning" thing you do. I should probably just call the establishment and tell them their money would be better spent buying one of those.

I bet DJ Homeslice is better at this than you are.

You guys are lame with all of these rules

Really? It's lame to try to make sure everyone has a fun, safe time? It's lame to try to keep the neighborhood from getting trashed? It's lame to bring roughly $20 million into the St. Louis economy each year?

Even with these rules in place we have hoodlums that break fences and windows every year. There was a freaking car flipped over last year and people thought it'd be a good idea to dance on top of it and take pictures. Unfortunately the idiots have ruined it for you. Well unless you'd be one of those people. Then hopefully these lame rules will keep you from ending up in jail.

Without these rules we wouldn't have a Mardi Gras season in St. Louis.

Business Complaints

"What do you mean I have to pay to be involved?" 

You operate a business so you should understand how this works. Money has to be spent to put this whole thing on. Unless you are running a very shitty business, you will easily make back the money you just spent. Judging by the common sense involved in asking that question, we are certain that this will be the best investment you've made in awhile.

"As a non-bar/restaurant it's unfair my business has to shut down because streets are closed."

Exactly how much business do you think you've going to lose on this Saturday in February or March? I bet you get a good portion of your business from neighbors. A good amount of these neighbors choose to live in Soulard partially because of Mardi Gras whether that's directly or in-directly (more on that below). Appreciate the confidence you have in your business but really, you're not going to lose a lot of money that day. In fact, you will gain some from people who visit the neighborhood on Grand Parade Day and choose to make their home in Soulard.

Neighbor Complaints

"Mardi Gras is just a way for the bars and MGI to make money"

See above for one. For another, do you see a bunch of BMWs, Range Rovers and Audis being driven by the folks who help put this festival on? Do you think they'd be putting the hours in here if they had a mansion with a full staff? Quit your bitching. Walk outside and see a tree planted in part by Mardi Gras funds. Go take a look at park fencing in Soulard Market Park.

Soulard wouldn't be where it is today without the Mardi Gras festival. It helps sustain the bars and restaurants here which then helps bring people to Soulard.

"Why can't I have beer from my own house in bottles or cans on the streets?"

Using logic here would tell you that making people pour beer in cups will cause them to hopefully keep their trash indoors rather than out on the street. Also, we may like you, but we don't know your friends. A cup of beer is much less of a weapon than a can or a bottle.

"Why can't I have a party at my house and charge a cover."

A bar that charges a cover hopefully has responsible adults inside that will keep things from getting out of hand. They will cut a drunk off when they are too intoxicated and if something terrible does happen, that have insurance. Do you have a plan in place if something happens? What will you do if people decided to wander into your house?


Don't read me wrong here. I love most everything about the Mardi Gras season and Grand Parade Day. I love the fact that people experience Soulard through Mardi Gras and I love when people want to live down here, whether it be to actually be involved or just to have a legit bathroom to use once a year.

I just want everyone to have a grand ol' safe time on March 1.

P.S. If you have any other common questions or comments you want to respond to, but them in the comments.