With Carnival season in full effect, New Orleans residents and tourists alike are preparing for a city-wide party filled with parades, king cake, costumes and alcohol. Every year, the Mardi Gras celebration grows, and some first-timers are not properly prepared for the festivities. Here are some tips and tech items that will help both newcomers and veterans survive this year’s Mardi Gras bash.
Face it, you will drop your phone at least once per parade and, if you’re lucky, you might even accidentally spill some beer on it. A waterproof case is a sound investment that would keep out all types of liquids. Overboard USA, the self-proclaimed leaders in waterproof accessories, has a wide range of phone cases to choose from. Generally targeted towards surfers and other extreme sports athletes, their bags and cases can surely handle swimming through crowds of people, beads propelling off floats, and a potential downpour. At $29.50, and available for most phone models, these cases are affordable and practical.
Another note-worthy phone case not only protects your phone, but allows you to drink responsibly, or at least efficiently. Intoxicase turns your phone into a beer bottle opener. Available for the iPhone 4/4s and iPhone 5, the beer bottle opener sits behind the phone underneath the camera, popping out only when you need a beer fix. You can also download the nifty accompanying app that counts your beers, logs how many gallons you’ve consumed over a period of time, estimates your blood alcohol content, then calls a cab when you’re ready to leave the party. Cases start at $35, and the app can be found in the App Store for free.
Pictured above (Top) Overboard USA Small Phone case; (Bottom) Intoxicase Plus
There is no doubt that you will be Instagramming the lavish parades, tweeting about your favorite costumes, and “checking in” to your favorite spots along the route. Keep your fingers warm in the unpredictable NOLA weather with a pair of touchscreen compatible gloves from North Face, available at Jeantherapy on Magazine Street. The Etip Gloves allows you to click around on your touchscreen phone without having to take them off, giving you just enough protection from the cold. Pick up a pair from Jeantherapy for $45 before they run out, or purchase them directly online.
The North Face’s Etip Gloves
The most obvious app to download is a reliable parade tracker. Zehnder Communications’ Experience Mardi Gras app not only provides a schedule of every parade leading up to Fat Tuesday, it also tracks your location in relation to the parade route. This app is available on both the iOS and Android platform. Another great app is the local-friendly WDSU Parade Tracker. Like Experience Mardi Gras, it presents your location and the parade routes on a map with live tracking. It also gives you the daily weather forecast and local news. This app is also available on the iOS and Android platforms.
Are you a Windows phone user from out of town? A great app to download would be the New Orleans Guide. A colorful, comprehensive tourist guide to New Orleans, this app will help you navigate the city with its maps, information, and tourist attractions, helping you navigate the city beyond the Mardi Gras festivities.
Everyone gets separated from their friends at least once during Mardi Gras. Utilizing a location-based app and using the “check-in” feature every time you hit a destination will be a lifesaver when you accidentally get left behind at Fat Harry’s and your friends just made it to Avenue Pub. Conversely, you can also use the following apps to avoid your boss or exes. A few recommendations are Find My Friends (iOS), Google Latitude (iOS, Android, mobile web) and Foursquare (iOS, Android, Windows).
Two weeks ago Dhariya Dand, a researcher at MIT, announced his prototype for “alcohol-aware glowing ice-cubes that beat to ambient music.” The cubes change from green to yellow to red as you sip. If you drink beyond the red warning, it will text a friend to notify them that you may be in trouble. Prompted by a recent blackout that landed him in the hospital, Dand developed this technology as a solution to drink responsibly. His mock-up has been a popular topic in the past week within tech worlds. While they’re not available yet, I’m putting these on my Mardi Gras 2014 wish list. Hey, Dand! While you’re at it, can you make some in purple, green and gold?
Melissa “Lissy” Geiss is the current editorial intern for PROPAGANDA New Orleans. Although she was born and raised in New York City, Lissy now calls New Orleans home as a student in the Public Relations program at Tulane University. When Lissy is not writing, reading, or studying, she enjoys performing in front of the camera as a professional actress. Her favorite ways to pass time are shopping for handbags, tracking down the hottest new technology, and walking down the 3000′s section of Magazine Street.