A Guide To Having The Best Mardi Gras Ever In New Orleans

A Guide To Having The Best Mardi Gras Ever In New Orleans

Everywhere else it's just a Tuesday

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Official Mardi Gras day may not be until March 5th, but Mardi Gras season is very much upon us all. Between all the silly Walmart decorations in the stores and the many king cakes sold all over Oxford, it's hard to ignore the fact that it is time to celebrate. Of course, there are a million ways to be festive this Mardi Gras season, but the king of the crop (or cake) is going down to New Orleans for some authentic fun. If that's your destination this year, you need to make sure you plan the best weekend possible. Even if you won't be on Bourbon for Fat Tuesday, New Orleans has so much to offer this time of year.

Stock up on some festive outfits

Of course, the beads are an important accessory during Mardi Gras, but that's just the tip of the ice burg. Get yourself a purple, green and gold shirt. Buy some fun headbands, sunglasses, and maybe even a wig! If there's ever a weekend you can get away with looking a little foolish, it is for sure this one.

Eat as much crawfish as you can handle

If you think there's nothing like going to the bar on a sunny Oxford Saturday for some crawfish, you will die over crawfish in New Orleans. It's fresh, seasoned, and honestly just to die for. It'll change the way you eat crawfish forever.

Take a million pictures with your friends

Some people will never have a Mardi Gras experience in their whole life. If you're lucky enough to even go to New Orleans during this time of the year at least once, it's something you're going to want to remember. Snap some candids of your friends doing stupid things and really make sure you capture the moment. You'll want to remember it.

See at least one parade

It will be very crowded. It will be a little warm. You will be doing a lot of standing with nothing really happening around you at some point. All of that is worth it for the feeling of catching the beads that fly off the float and feeling like Santa Claus when you get to hand out the big plastic bag of them to the little kids around you.

Get off Bourbon for a while

If you're really feeling like an ambitious parade-watcher, take some time away from Bourbon street and head Uptown to get a more local experience. You'll find a different crowd that's more made up of college students that might seem a little less overwhelming. Still expect the same crowds, though.

Just have fun

This seems like it should go without saying, but the main point of the celebration is to just let loose and have a little fun. Don't worry about what anyone thinks. Wear the crazy outfit. Keep every single bead on all weekend even if you think it looks silly. Be a total tourist and just love it. It's all part of the experience.

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Dear Taylor Swift, Christians Are Not Homophobic Bigots, Sincerely, The Majority Of Christians

Taylor, you need to calm down when talking about how most Christians act.

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When Taylor Swift released her newest single "You Need to Calm Down" last Friday, I didn't agree with the entire message of the song, mainly because of its heavy political overtones. But as the great Dick Clark once said, "It's got a good beat, and you can dance to it." So, for what it is, it's really easy to dance to this song, and I can see it becoming a pretty big hit.

But then the video came out, and I saw something that really bothered me.

In the music video for "You Need to Calm Down", Taylor is seen partying and hanging out with multiple LGBT+ icons in honor of Pride Month, such as the hosts of Queer Eye, RuPaul, and Ellen Degeneres. There's also a moment with Taylor, dressed as French fries, renewing her friendship with Katy Perry, who's dressed as a hamburger, which is as amazing as it sounds.

However, there's another cast of characters which acts as a foil to the happiness and colorful joy which is taking place in the video. There's a group of protesters surrounding the trailer park where Taylor and all her friends live. They're all dirty, buck-toothed, and dressed like your typical redneck stereotypes. They're also holding up protest signs while screaming at everyone in the trailer park. I saw one of the signs said something about Adam and Eve, and I realized most of the protesters were most likely meant to represent Christians.

And that...didn't sit well with me at all.

I know that these people never explicitly said they were Christians in the video, none of them even wore a cross. But, whenever someone sees anyone protesting rallies and organizations such as Pride, I can guarantee you that most of the time, the first thing people think is that they're from the Westboro Baptist Church, which is notorious for its protests. And I won't lie, there are some Christians who act that way.

But if you haven't heard this yet, let me be the first to tell you that not all Christians act like that. In fact, most of them don't act that way.

Christians don't agree with the LGBT+ lifestyle because of what the apostle Paul wrote in the book of 1 Corinthians (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). However, Jesus never once taught that just because you don't agree with a person doesn't mean they're automatically your enemy (Matthew 5:44). Christians are supposed to represent the love of the Savior of the world, which encompasses every and all aspects of humanity. This definitely includes people whose lifestyles we don't agree with. By not showing love to certain types of people, we are directly going against one of Jesus's greatest commandments.

Not agreeing with people is one of the cornerstones of humanity. It's a divisive world out there to be sure, but that doesn't mean people from any side of the debate need to perpetuate the division. Grouping all Christians into one group of hateful bigots is no different than Christians grouping all the members of the LGBT+ community into one group of evil people. One of the key elements of Christianity is showing people who have different beliefs from us the same love Jesus would show to anyone. And I know I'm not the only Christian who wants to show love to people of all walks of life. I may be the only Jesus they ever see in their lives, and we all wish to express the same love to others.

So Taylor, it looks like you're the one who needs to calm down on this issue.

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Am I An Addict And Social Media Is The Drug?

Hey, my name is Ashley Williams and I am a social media fanatic.

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I don't know if it's because I was born into this generation that is built on social media and technology or what, but I just know it's a part of me that I won't be able to get rid of.

Social media has amazing perks... it's a faster way of getting and keeping in touch with someone, you have your daily news and entertainment right at your fingertips, and you can share and learn just by opening up an app. But, despite these amazing advancements social media has provided for me, recently I've been feeling kind of like a... zombie, or slave to social media.

It's gotten to the point where it's a part of my morning, afternoon, and nightly routine. I wake up to browsing my social media to ending my night checking my social media one more time just in case I missed anything that's "worth my time."

Recently in my Writ 102 class, we had to write a research paper about anything our hearts desired, and I chose to write about the impacts of social media on someone's mental health.

While researching and trying to get my sources, I came across tons of information that suggest that millennials are most likely to experience a phenomenon called FOMO, fear of missing out. Crazy, cause that's exactly how I feel when I check my Twitter or Instagram feed right after I was just on it knowing damn well, nothing new has popped up.

...And this thought came to me... am I an addict and social media is the drug?




Is getting a notification, a" like", a dm, or something new being popping up on my feed the dopamine that's fueling my craving for my social media addiction?



Is this bad? I mean it's not like I checked my phone seven times, mindlessly scrolling while writing the first half of my blog... I'm not that addictive. It's just a little crave.



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