1) Bourbon Street is crowded. I mean, really crowded. Get a block or two in, and you'll be sucked into the crowd. After that, you're on your own. Weave, dodge, shove, slide, push, whatever gets you going, but there are People. Lots of them.
2) Bourbon Street is drunk. And by that, I mean the booze is everywhere, and it is cheap. Cans, bottles, cups, containers, beer hats, walking kegs, inebriated clowns, 2 for 1 specials, you name it. Beer, bourbon, rum, whiskey, beer, cocktails, Hurricanes, absinthe, if you can drink it in America, you'll find it here. And they want you to drink it. Lots of it.
3) Bourbon Street is weird. Funny hats, funny pants, millions of beads, bikinis, tuxedos, crowds of Elvises (Elvii?), strippers, cops, senior citizens, college students, dogs, miniature horses, regular sized horses... trust me, this is where aliens come not to be noticed.
4) Bourbon Street wants you to look up. Because if you don't, you'll get beaned on the noggin by flying beads... or worse yet, clocked by some drunken assmonkey who threw himself at the beads that would otherwise have hit you. Either, look up, and be aware of your surroundings. Mardi Gras concussions acount for 94 percent of tourist accidents on Bourbon Street, I'm sure.
If you catch the beads before they hit you, you're in good shape.
5) Bourbon Street is friendly. It's one big party, and it loves you, man. Have a beer, have a hot dog, take some pics, cheer at total strangers, ogle the women and bond with the men... or vice versa. It's the never-ending bastard child of a science fiction convention and a frat party, and both sides want to give you a big sloppy drunken hug.
6) Bourbon Street doesn't love you. Not like that. It's like the strippers... it's fun only as long as you don't get emotionally attached and delude yourself. It won't call afterwards, it won't respect you in the morning, it won't remember your name five minutes after you leave. While you're there, you'll be best buds, but that's transitory and an illusion. It loves everyone the same way.
7) Bourbon Street has what you need. It has music of all kinds, from jazz to blues, rock to country... if you can groove to it, it's there. It has the aforementioned booze. It has souvenir stores, and party stores, and gentlemen's clubs, cabarets and strip joints. It has restaurants and street vendors, fancy places and dives. Go a block off in either direction, and you'll find even more of what you need with food and shopping and art. It's here to make you happy.
8) Bourbon Street wants your money. Seriously. All of the above stuff will cost you. Again like the stripper, because dammit, the analogy fits, it wants to separate you from your cash by selling you whatever you want, and tempting you at every opportunity. If you linger in front of a bar too long (say, a millisecond), the barkers will do everything to convince you that what you need is a cheap drink and some music. Look the wrong way at a strip club, and that blonde in a bikini may just drag you in... and if I have to explain about how strip clubs want your money, we need to talk. Just remember that the only thing for free are the beads being flung at you...
9) Bourbon Street is shameless. Yes, you'll see boobs. Woman boobs, man boobs, and God knows what else. This is a place for people to let it all hang out, get drunk, wander the streets, and have a good time. So relax, go with the flow, join the party. But remember, Bourbon Street is also treacherous. You're responsible for watching your own ass... if you get drunk and fall in the gutter and a mime steals your wallet while helping you up, or you end up proposing eternal love to a female impersonator named Molly, that's YOUR problem.
10) Bourbon Street is freaking awesome. And I have pictures.