Students celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans

By Tori Pappas

Mardi Gras. What’s the big deal? New Orleans native, senior Chet Vaughn, had a lot to say about the unique celebration. Before embarking on the hour long discussion, Vaughn offered me a slice of the famous King Cake. This slice of purple, green and gold really was a sight to see, much like all Mardi Gras doings. Vaughn said that King Cake was just the beginning of what Mardi Gras is all about.

Inside every King Cake is a tiny baby. In general the synthetic babe is plastic, but sometimes it might be made of porcelain or even gold. The tradition of having King Cake parties has evolved over time. The person who receives the piece of cake with the baby is asked to continue the festivities by hosting the next King Cake party.

It seems that Mardi Gras is one prolonged party.

A Krewe is an organization that requires one to shell out a few bucks to have the privilege of hosting a parade and ball for Mardi Gras. The ball consists of a presentation of the court, dinner and dancing. The invitation-only occasion is a much in-demand event.

Senior Carder Lamb had the pleasure of attending the Mid City Ball.

“The Mid City Ball was like nothing I’d ever experienced. It was overflowing with tradition and made me nostalgic for the experiences that I hold close to my heart,” Lamb said.

One such tradition are the extravagant parades. For each parade, Krewe has a unique history and theme. The floats are family-oriented and virtually never co-ed. The parade stretches 5 to 6 miles down St. Charles Street in New Orleans and thousands of people gather along the streets and on their balconies to watch.

King Cake, the Mid City Ball and the parades all lead up to what is known as “Fat Tuesday.” The term Mardi Gras is a French expression meaning “Fat Tuesday” and refers to the last chance for people to indulge before Lent.

The celebration of Mardi Gras must differ invariably depending on the place in which it’s celebrated. So Mardi Gras in New Orleans is definitely one of the main destinations. As senior Kelly Kristoff said, “It is the world’s greatest party.”