Don’t Touch the Horses & Other Tips for Visiting New Orleans
Posted on Nov 29, 2018 in Criminal Defense, Disturbing the Peace, Mardi Gras, NOPD
New Orleans is a premiere destination for tourists from all over the world. People come to the Big Easy for the culture, food, music, and party atmosphere.
New Orleans has a reputation for being a place where anything goes. It’s true, we know how to have a good time down here.
But even New Orleans has rules. By all means, come party with us! Cut loose, do something you might affectionately regret—but don’t get in trouble with the law in the process.
Here are four tips for staying out of trouble while visiting the Big Easy.
1. Don’t Touch the Horses!
Many New Orleans police officers patrol on horseback, especially in the quarter. The thin streets there can get crowded with cars and pedestrians, so the horses allow officers to move about more easily.
Particularly during Mardi Gras, you’ll see a lot of cops on horseback navigating the crowds.
As much as you may feel inclined, never touch the horses. I know they look soft and friendly. Sure, your Tindr profile could really benefit from an equine endorsement. Yes, posting an Instagram of you and the horse with the caption, “BoJack Horseman is a narc” would be both quirky and topical.
However, this is one instance in New Orleans where one must show a little restraint.
The police really do not like it when you touch their horses, and may give you problems if you do.
What’s more, legally speaking horses are considered members of the police force. This means, yes, you can actually be arrested and charged with “Assaulting a Police Officer” for messing with a horse.
2. No Glass Outside
New Orleans is famous for its lax liquor laws. You can buy alcohol at any time of the day or night, any day of the week. Bars never have to close if they don’t want to. There’s no open container law, so you can openly drink beer outside and in public.
However, there is one liquor law that many tourists don’t know about. It is illegal to have glass bottles or cups outside. If you are going to drink outside it must be out of a plastic container or can.
This rule is most often enforced by bouncers and employees of bars and clubs. After all, they’re the ones that have to sweep up your mess if you drop a glass on the sidewalk.
It’s less common for police to stop you over this issue, but they can ticket you if they do. As a general rule of thumb, you don’t want to give the police any reason to approach you. Every bar in the city has plastic cups. If you’re drinking out of a glass or bottle, just ask for plastic before you head out to the next bar.
3. Cut Loose, But Be Smart
Whether it’s for a bachelorette party, graduation, or football game—people love to come to New Orleans and party. Unfortunately, some tourists get too rowdy, and a good time can quickly turn into a bad one.
Some of the most common charges we see tourists get are:
- Public drunkenness
- Drunk and disorderly
- Disturbing the peace
These fall under what we call the “party crimes.” Yes, it is legal to drink in public. It’s even the norm in certain parts of the city! But if you get so drunk that you’re causing a disturbance, or endangering the yourself or others, you could be breaking the law.
These charges are discretionary, which means it’s up to the officer in each case to decide whether you are breaking the law. They determine if you are so drunk as to be an endangerment to yourself or others, if you’re causing a disturbance, or whatever the case might be. They decide whether to arrest you or not.
You don’t have to be operating a vehicle for a police officer to request a blood alcohol test. If they suspect you to be too drunk to be in public, they can request one. You may refuse within your rights, however they may still arrest you on the grounds of suspicion.
At the end of the day, always drink responsibly and remain aware of your surroundings. Muggers have also been known to prey on noticeably drunk people.
4. Be Aware of Cameras
In this modern techno-dystopia, privacy is dead. In New Orleans, we have one of the most surveillance systems per capita in the country. So this one is just to say, hey, heads up: you’re being watched.
The quarter is particularly laden with cameras. Just remember that just because you don’t see a cop (or horse-cop) nearby doesn’t mean you can get away with it. Surveillance footage can be used against you as evidence in a court of law.
You know what they say: what happens in New Orleans stays in New Orleans, inside a massive data dump of surveillance video footage.
Have You Been Charged With a Crime While Visiting New Orleans?
Have you been charged with a crime or arrested while visiting New Orleans? Did you receive a ticket or misdemeanor charge?
The experienced criminal defense lawyers at Bloom Legal can help. We help people who run into trouble while visiting the city all the time. We pride ourselves on communication and top-notch service, and will work for you and keep you abreast of your case even from afar.
Call us today for a free consultation, and to hear about the powerful individual approach we take to every case.