Regardless of what myths you may have heard, laws are not waived during Carnival. You can still get arrested for the same perceived or actual infractions as the rest of the year in our highly surveilled city. And also, like the rest of the year, you can get arrested at the discretion of any police officer. You may peruse the Louisiana Public Defender Board’s Know Your Rights guide, available on their website (lpdb.la.gov). Another oft-repeated line is that if you are arrested during Mardi Gras, you are automatically not going to be released until Ash Wednesday. Though City closures can and will impact the functioning of all City services and facilities, you should still attempt to locate your arrested friend (or vice versa). Being prepared with information like each other’s DOBs can be very helpful in the event of arrest.
The Sobering Center at Odyssey House
The status of this facility cannot be currently verified
732 N Claiborne Ave. 70116
This new facility is billed as a kinder, gentler alternative to the drunk tank. Cops might take you here, or allegedly you can show up voluntarily. The requirements for admission are listed in full on the website; one is that the individual must be non-combative. The facility is designed to provide temporary supervision and referrals upon release. Please note that the supervision here is designed exclusively for people who are drunk on alcohol.
Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office & Orleans Justice Center
Inmate information hotline: 504-827-6777
2800 Perdido St. 70119
On the OPSO website you can look up people who are being held, but they don’t get into the system until a variable amount of time after they’ve been arrested and booked. The website also has instructions for visiting and additional contact information.
MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS RESOURCES
These resources are intended to provide you with alternatives to calling the police, but there is no guarantee that the police also won’t come if you call one of these numbers.
Metropolitan Crisis Response Team
Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in Orleans, Plaquemines, and St. Bernard Parishes.
Jefferson Parish Mobile Crisis Team
After hours, nights, and weekends.
Checklist of Cognitive Distortions from Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns
This is a checklist to help untangle negative thought patterns.
SAFER DRUG USE & OVERDOSE RESPONSE
New Orleans Harm Reduction Network (Trystero)
504-535-4766 (text only)
Mobile unit serving the New Orleans area. Hours: by appointment. After-hours mobile access to sterile equipment for injection drug users, Narcan, overdose prevention, and harm reduction trainings.
New Orleans Syringe Access Program (inside of Crescent Care)
1631 Elysian Fields Ave. 70117
NOSAP offers safe, sterile syringes, safe injection materials, and authorized syringe disposal. NOSAP provides Hepatitis C and HIV rapid testing and linkage to treatment. No cost, donations appreciated. Every Wednesday 12-4 and every Friday 12-5.
Though there are many urgent care centers around the city, these in particular are dedicated to servicing low or no income people and offer sliding-scale or no-cost services.
Crescent Care Specialty Center
1631 Elysian Fields Ave. 70117
Federally qualified providers of healthcare with a particular focus on underserved communities: the service industry, the LGBT community, minorities, and historically impoverished neighborhoods. They also provide on-site STI testing, treatment and linkage to care for PrEP, PEP, new HIV diagnoses, as well as suboxone, and Narcan.
St. Thomas Community Health Center
1936 Magazine St. 70130
2014 Magazine St. 70130
3943 St. Bernard Ave. 70122
PrEP/PEP and low-cost primary care services.
SEXUAL ASSAULT / RAPE RESPONSE
These resources provide crisis response and ongoing care. They also provide referrals to safe houses if the violence you or your friend has experienced has destabilized your/their housing accommodations.
(Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner)
University Medical Center New Orleans
2000 Canal St. 70112
A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner is a forensic nurse trained in the holistic treatment and evaluation of sexual assault survivors, and are thus equipped to provide psychological and emotional care and advocacy along with more standard medical services.
Sexual Trauma Awareness & Response (STAR)
855-435-STAR (24 hour hotline)
Greater New Orleans Branch
123 N. Genois St. 70119
Provides legal, emotional and other forms of support to survivors of sexual assault and trauma.
Plan B NOLA
Text or call 504-264-3656 for information on where to obtain free or low cost (donations appreciated) Plan B/emergency contraception within the Greater New Orleans area. See the website for additional information, like designated pick up spots.
4636 S. Claiborne Ave #100
Reproductive Justice Action Collective
Disseminates emergency contraception.
This guide was compiled by Jamilla Webb, BSN, RN, Birth Doula; and Beck Levy
photo by Josh Burns