The Memorial Day holiday this weekend is the kick-off to summer across the United States. New Orleans is right in the thick of things with spectacular fireworks events, music and culture festivals and a host of entertainment to satisfy both locals and visitors alike. While we like to celebrate and play as much as anyone, here are 5 things to keep in mind during the summer, while you party hearty in NOLA: 1) Hydrate and not just with hurricanes For many people, summertime means drinking cold beers on hot summer days. However, alcohol and hot weather can be a dangerous combination. Alcohol consumption can cause people to lose inhibitions and make regrettable decisions. Impaired judgment resulting from alcohol is exacerbated in the summer when people are more likely to drink for several hours during BBQs, festivals or other social events. Drunk driving, public intoxication and other alcohol-related offenses can have serious consequences. You may be arrested or detained, and you could lose your driver’s license. Avoid these issues by following our tips and staying safe this summer! Extreme heat and alcohol can also lead to dehydration, which can cause you to pass out or suffer heat exhaustion. Luckily, there are several easy ways to protect yourself during the warm weather. You should drink plenty of water and wear sunscreen, sunglasses and lightweight clothing. If you do consume alcohol, pace yourself and avoid beverages with large amounts of sugar, which can dehydrate you (we’re looking at you – hurricane!). 2) Pick a designated driver before you go out Drunk driving, or even tipsy driving, is always a bad idea. Intoxicated drivers pose a dangerous risk to themselves and to other drivers on the road. Drunk driving can also result in a DWI charge, which can lead to imprisonment and/or hefty fines in Louisiana. If you’re planning a night out in the French Quarter or elsewhere, choose a designated driverbefore your fun-filled evening begins. This way, there will be no confusion about who will be driving home at the end of the night. Alternatively, leave the car at home and call a cab or get a ride with Uber or Lyft. 3) The street is NOT a bathroom It’s the middle of the night, you’re out on Bourbon Street, and it hits you – you really, really need to use the bathroom. While it might be convenient to find a secluded street corner to take care of your business, just don’t do it. First of all, we don’t want our city to smell like a giant bathroom. Second, public urination is considered “lewd conduct” in New Orleans, and it’s a crime. Unless you want to pay a fine and do several hours of trash cleanup, your best bet is to find the nearest public bathroom. Many hotels, bars and restaurants stay open late at night and have bathrooms. 4) Stay safe in crowds Festivals are popular in New Orleans during the summer. The music, culture and food bring a lot of visitors, but can also attract crowd fights and pickpocketers. If you’re planning on attending a festival or going to a crowded event, be attentive of people around you. Events that get overcrowded can cause people to feel threatened because there’s a lack of personal space. A hostile crowd can quickly trigger fights and violent behavior, especially when alcohol is added to the mix. Fights or other inappropriate behavior can lead to battery or assault charges, which carry stiff penalties. To protect yourself in a crowd, be aware of your surroundings and stay away from intoxicated or disorderly individuals. Additionally, be extra careful about your personal possessions. Keep your valuables at home and hide your cash and credit cards in unusual places, like your shoes. 5) Get a Go CupNew Orleans is known for its open container law, which allows you to consume alcohol on public streets. However, not everyone knows what actually qualifies as an “open container” and what doesn’t. You can drink your beverage out of an open plastic container. You can never drink out of a glass bottle or an opened metal container. Doing so can result in drinking in public charges. So, if you’re drinking from a glass bottle or beer can, just pour the beverage into a plastic cup (most bars will give one to you) and you can continue drinking on the street. Summertime in New Orleans is full of activities and entertainment for everyone. While we all want to celebrate and stay safe, we know that crowds, alcohol and fun can sometimes result in things getting out of hand. If you are charged with an alcohol-related offense, traffic ticket, or other party or inappropriate behavior, call Bloom Legal today at 504-599-9997 or fill out our online form. Our lawyers can help you understand the consequences your charge, and what options you have to fight the charge.