I in NO WAY encourage drinking and driving, but I will preface the following by saying that if you are leaving a bar and have a drink in your hand, you are either going to finish it all at once or, as in New Orleans, going to grab a to-go cup and leave with it in your hand.
When I first arrived in Chicago, we had gone out to some bars in Lincoln Park and I could not get used the fact that there wasn’t a stack of plastic cups by the door. I’m not a fast drinker and I had to stand at the door of each bar and try to down my beer or throw it away. What the hell?
In New Orleans, it is perfectly normal to walk around with your alcohol and when I was in my late teens and twenties, it was also normal to drive around with your alcohol. I’m not saying the cops didn’t bust DWI drivers, but my we were never worried about having that cup of beer in our hand. If we weren’t drunk, we were fine. We even had drive through daiquiri shops (but you weren’t supposed to put your straw in it – wink wink).
In the French Quarter, it would make sense as everyone was walking, but outside of the Quarter is where you took your chances driving around. My friends and I have never been pulled over while bar hopping, but I attribute that to lax law enforcement at the time. Like I said, it was normal. A lot of times, the cops working the door would be the one’s to hand you the cup.
Yes, to an outsider, this may seem bad, but I will only speak about my own case, because we weren’t black-out alcoholics and we didn’t drive like fools. Whether you don't agree, or think I was lucky, you may be right. I probably was in some cases and I would never do, or condone this now. But I was smart and an awesome driver. No tickets, no accidents – ever. My drunk was never a sloppy drunk and at that time, in the late ‘80s and early 90’s, the New Orleans kids 18-25 years old, lived the life that they knew.