In case you’re not familiar with the concept of Red Dress Run, here you go: wear a red dress and proceed to get slobberknockered with 4,000+ of your new friends. The “run” portion is more of a circuitous strut of ~2 miles from Crescent Park through the French Quarter and back. The event is essentially a huge party that raises ~$200,000 for over 100 local charities. Being the charitable partier I am, signing up was only natural.
Since there’s a (un)healthy amount of drinking involved before, during, and after the event, I started my morning off as only a true champion can: donning my red dress and drinking Urban South Quatrefoil.
For me, this is THE beer of the New Orleans summer. Labeled as a sour IPA, it has a refreshing tartness along with a light hop presence. A big trend I’ve noticed and approve is the use of hibiscus in beers, and Urban South excellently pulls it off here. The flower lends a pleasant pink hue to the beer along with berry and obvious floral flavors. This combination of characteristics makes Quatrefoil perfect for drinking on a hot summer day. Or drinking at 8 in the morning in prep for a day of more drinking. With agreeable liquid in my belly, Danielle and I were off to the races.
We arrived at Crescent Park and were dropped off at the incorrect location listed on the Red Dress Run website. Slight aggravation aside, the mishap did allow us to tour the park and soak in the stunning views of the Mississippi, Algiers Point, and the CBD. It was quite the vantage point for an urban park.
First beer was officially served at 9, giving us 2+ hours to get properly lubed before the “run”. The beer selection was very limited, but it was all you can drink. That being the case, I went for the best options available, Abita To-Gose and The Boot. The gose was uninspiring but managed to hit the standard marks of the style: sour with a bit of saltiness. This was backed up by key lime sweetness that was a little too much for my liking. The Boot was a bland kolsch style ale. The style generally translates well to copious consumption in warm weather, so I made sure to do my part to hold up that tradition. It even made for a good picture with a lovely backdrop.
I have no clue how many beers I drank, but it was a lot. Half-full cups were refilled. Double fists were had. Pulls of mystery tequila drinks from stranger’s flasks were consumed. Never one to pass up a photo op, a coalition of our Red Dress group showed how great of running condition we were in.
Eventually 11 rolled around, and it was time for the run to begin. Another logistical snafu of the event’s location is the sole entry and exit point from Crescent Park. From the closed off event area, there was a single pedestrian bridge leading to the run’s start. As you can imagine, thousands of people flocking to that at once caused a large traffic jam.
Despite these extreme hardships, we made it to the starting line and set off on the route. We started off in the Bywater, quickly made it through Marigny, and then traversed through the Quarter. Through my encouragement, we began our “run” by skipping for the first couple minutes. We then did actual running for a couple minutes. We then saw beer being provided on the route, so naturally we halted our relatively quick pace to consume more booze. Running is entirely optional – most people end up walking the entire route. I saw a couple showoffs who legitimately ran, but in general it’s a social walk through some happening areas of New Orleans. Eventually we caught up to our bachelor partying friends and witnessed The Gimp, aka the bachelor, making his way through the French Quarter streets.
People were obviously very amused / confused by the spectacle, but it made for great entertainment and non-stop deep belly laughs for myself. We even got to witness The Gimp crawling his way across the finish line as his friends pulled on his chains. Such a heartwarming sight.
Once the run is finished, there’s a metric shit ton of food available. And of course more beer. Since the pizza line was short, I slammed a lot of slices and then grabbed a taco. Don’t remember where it was from, but it was very tasty in the moment. After a couple more beers, Danielle and I were pretty toasty and ready for our afternoon nap. A Lyft ride later, we were in nap zone by the early hour of 2ish o’clock.
For my first full Red Dress Run, I had an amazing time. For $54, I got to drink all the beer my liver could handle, stuff my belly full of food, get some free swag, tour New Orleans with 4,000+ other merry souls, and support charities. That’s a damn good deal I won’t hesitate to take advantage of in the future. Join me next year for some raucous fun for a good cause!