Tourists often have the wrong ideas about what is and is not allowed in the French Quarter. Acting on these myths may result in a tour of the local jail, or of the hospital facilities. Instead of believing the rumors, read on to discover the truth.

The Legal Drinking Age Is 18

This one is completely false. You must be 21 years old to purchase alcohol, so don’t plan a high school road trip with a drinking binge in mind. Many bars and clubs won’t even admit people if they are under 21 years of age. Due to the sheer number of bars and clubs in the area, some underage people do slip by unnoticed, but you have a better chance of being carded and turned away.

Getting Drunk In Public Is Legal

You can go to jail for public intoxication during your visit to the French Quarter. This misunderstanding arises from a unique rule regarding drinking in public. As long as the container you’re carrying is not made of glass, it’s legal to walk around with a drink in public. This is not the same thing as being allowed to get drunk. Also, this applies only in the French Quarter, not the rest of New Orleans.

Unless you’re unruly or visibly unstable on your feet, your chance of getting arrested for walking around while drunk is slimmer than in Anytown, USA, but it can and does happen. Even if you don’t get caught, as in any large city, staggering around in an impaired state makes you a prime target for criminals. Don’t take the chance.

Novelty Drinks Won’t Effect You

Many tourists find out the hard way that this isn’t true. Don’t be fooled by a sweet taste that masks the alcohol, by the bright Technicolor hue, or by the silly looking plastic cup in which the drinks are often served. Know you limitations and stick to them, regardless of the drinks’ funny name or presentation.

In other places in the country, test tube shots offered in bars and clubs are reputed to be watered down. This is rarely the case in New Orleans, where bars compete fiercely for customers. Other harmless looking drinks that pack a punch are: slushie style daiquiris, Tropical Isle’s Hand Grenades, and of course, the Hurricane. If you aren’t sure how much alcohol is in a drink, don’t be afraid to ask the bartender. It’s better than becoming ill in public.

Police Turn A Blind Eye On Drunk Driving

Drinking and driving is not legal EVER, and if you plan to do this, please don’t come to my neighborhood. If you get stopped for driving while intoxicated, you will go to jail. It is already an extremely dangerous thing to do under any circumstance. Add to this the heavy vehicle and foot traffic, plus narrow one-way streets and you increase your chances of causing property damage, injuring yourself or others, or even killing someone. If you’ve had too much, get into a taxi cab.