A sober night out on the town in New Orleans with your college buddies has never been more difficult. Think about it, New Orleans is infamous for its locals partying, drinking and engaging in all sorts of excessive debauchery until the sun comes up, and that's no secret. I'm willing to bet some students from out-of-state even traveled here for it, among other things. However, everyone's nightlife isn't a reflection of the stereotypes the city has been labeled with.
Some students, like me, choose not to drink for plenty of reasons, some more personal than others. My reasons are not very dramatic. I don't morally oppose drinking as long as you're of drinking age and it's in moderation. I don't have a family member suffering from an addiction to alcohol and I'm fortunate enough not to have lost a loved one in a car accident where alcohol was the factor. My decision to abstain from drinking is primarily a personal choice; I just don't like it.
So what does this mean for us non-drinkers on the weekends? Absolutely nothing.
Just because some of your friends frequent the Boot, bars on Maple Street or other places where alcohol is served on Fridays and Saturdays doesn't mean you have to sit in your room moping. You can experience nightlife in New Orleans with friends and create memories that will last a lifetime all while remaining true to yourself without drinking. There are plenty of places throughout New Orleans that have forms of entertainment other than the bar.
For example, the Boot is one of those hybrid places that serves as a bar and a club. Usually, there's a DJ playing music for those who like to dance along with two pool tables for some friendly competition. Other great spots to visit for live musical performances and a place to show off your dancing skills are Le Maison de Musique and Blue Nile on Frenchman Street. I like them because both places have great bands, a bar for friends to have a drink or two and alternatives for those looking for some sober fun. Both have upstairs rooms for dancing, and Thursday nights at Blue Nile offer a taste of the islands at their Reggae Night.
If this isn't enough reason to venture out on the weekends, here's another. A substantial amount of college students die from alcohol-related fatal crashes every year. The people we know and love aren't making responsible or educated decisions if they're leaving a bar intoxicated and getting behind the wheel.. Here's where we step in. As designated driver, you can have a good time on the weekends and ensure your friends get home safely in one piece.
Of course, going to a bar isn't the only activity to engage in; the options in New Orleans are endless. The point is that you shouldn't feel afraid to go out to any place just because you choose to stay away from alcohol. Explore the city a little, find what's right for you. Just remember, next time you're debating whether or not to sit at home or go out because your friends want to go somewhere popular for college drinking, do yourself a favor and go. It might be fun. Think of it this way, it just means your wallet will be a little heavier than theirs the following day, even though you both enjoyed a great party.