NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - For some parade-goers, drinking on the route is just as much a part of Carnival as catching a Muses shoe or a Zulu coconut.
FOX 8 hit the parade route on St. Charles Avenue to see just how many people were celebrating the season with an alcoholic beverage.
"I'm buzzing off of this, and this is not even half way down," said one reveler.
Weaving though the crowd with a Breathalyzer, we immediately found someone with a .16 reading. The legal limit is .08.
When the woman saw the reading, she responded, "Yes, I love it. Thank you New Orleans. We have a designated driver."
While we found several people along the parade route over the legal limit of .08, we also found those drinking in moderation. Some revelers who were not legally drunk still admitted they had plans to drink a lot more before the night was over.
"So, right now, you're at .06. How much have you had so far?" asked reporter Natasha Robin.
"I've had one beer so far," the man said.
"How much do you think you'll have tonight?" Robin asked.
"Maybe six to eight," he answered.
Excessive drinking can lead to more than just being legally drunk. It can sometimes land you in the emergency room.
"In a typical emergency room, you can walk in on a morning shift and you pass some empty beds. During Mardi Gras here at Touro. It's not like that. You walk in to a shift that starts at 6 a.m. and you are almost completely full," said Dr. Charlane Liles.
During the first big weekend of the Carnival season, Touro Infirmary experienced a 40 percent increase in alcohol-related visits to the ER.
"You had six, seven, eight patients lying in bed in different states of awareness getting treated for alcohol-related problems," Liles said.
Dr. Liles said patients are treated for different levels of intoxication. Some are vomiting; others are passed out and barely breathing.
"Their friends drive them in and they say, 'Here he is. We can't wake him up. What do we do?' And those are sometimes some of the scary things that happen during Mardi Gras," Liles said.
She said everyone has a different tolerance for alcohol.
"An average daily drink for a female is one drink a day. An average daily drink for a male is two drinks a day. If you have someone who drinks an average drink a day, an alcohol level of .1 might not affect them at all.
Liles said know what you can handle.
Of course, drinking and driving is never a good idea. The key is have fun - but drink responsibly.