For anyone living in New Orleans, there’s no escaping Mardi Gras. It all begins with red-and-green holiday decorations giving way to purple, green and gold everywhere. King cakes –sugary and scrumptious — start appearing at school, work and parties. Before long, parades begin marching through every major neighborhood, and it’s nearly impossible to stay away from the colorful sights and joyful sounds.
Tulane Law students can’t escape Mardi Gras, either — and there’s no reason we’d want to. Read on for the best of Mardi Gras around Tulane Law School this year.
1. Mardi Gras is more than a single day of celebration. Carnival season lasts several weeks, and Weinmann Hall feels the festive spirit long before Fat Tuesday.
Tulane Law Review members have been reviewing scholarly articles all year, but for the past few weeks, they did so surrounded by festive Mardi Gras decorations and king cake. Junior Member Laura Cannon (L ’16) brightened up the law review suite with purple, green and gold garlands and banners, while other law review members contributed countless king cakes throughout carnival season.
“We’re in the law review suite so much that it’s become like a second home. I thought the decorations would make this a happier place for all of us to be during Mardi Gras,” Laura said.
2. The parade route isn’t the only place to catch beads during Mardi Gras.
Someone calling himself The Dictator invaded Adjunct Professor Mike Butterworth’s (L ‘89) class Thursday before Mardi Gras, throwing beads and overriding the lesson plan. Prof. Butterworth says he was not in class that day because he had been warned to avoid The Dictator’s takeover of his Carriage of Goods by Sea admiralty class.
The Dictator is the brazen leader of Le Krewe d’Etat, a Mardi Gras krewe that’s renowned for its satirical parade themes. Mardi Gras krewe members traditionally maintain anonymity, and locals have fun trying to recognize parade riders behind their masks each year. Revelers attempted to spot and identify The Dictator
at Krewe d’Etat’s parade Friday night, but the
masked man’s identity remains a mystery.
It cannot be confirmed or denied whether Prof. Butterworth himself is a member of any Mardi Gras krewes at this time.
3. The annual Mardi Gras Sports Law Invitational draws law students nationwide and is Tulane’s leading invitational moot court competition.
During the Mardi Gras Invitational, student competitors argued both sides of current and complex topics in sports law, a key area of focus at Tulane Law School. This year’s problem tackled issues surrounding the legalization of sports gambling and an MLB franchise relocation under baseball’s antitrust exemption.
The invitational drew approximately 95 competitors from 32 law schools throughout the country, and they were judged by attorneys and judges in each round.
“The practitioners are genuinely interested and eager to learn about the issues in the problem, making for intense and highly interactive oral arguments,” said Shauna DiGiovanni (L ’15), moot court administrative justice for invitational competitions.
And it’s only fitting that Tulane hosts its annual competition the week before Mardi Gras, when competitors can partake in quintessentially New Orleans traditions during downtime.
“It is a privilege to bring 95 people from all over the country to my home, and we make sure they have a chance to not only participate in a premier moot court competition, but to truly soak up everything New Orleans has to offer,” said Shauna, a New Orleans native. “From a Mardi Gras-themed awards banquet along the parade route after Muses, to homemade pralines and Zapp’s potato chips, the competitors undoubtedly leave New Orleans eager to return.”
4. Camaraderie is infectious during Mardi Gras, and Tulane Law students explore New Orleans together like never before – whether it’s their first or their 30th carnival.
Seeing Mardi Gras for the first time thrills New Orleans newcomers, but Tulane Law’s international students, who come to study in the city for just a year, get a special view of the fun.
Professor Herb Larson, executive director of international legal studies and graduate programs, and his wife, Julianne, welcome Tulane’s international students to carnival season with their annual dinner before the Krewe of Muses parade. Students gather at the Larsons’ uptown home for traditional New Orleans fare, like jambalaya and mini po’boys, then vie for beads and coveted hand-decorated shoes at the parade.
This year’s Muses party was only the beginning of the weekend’s celebrations.
“The city was full of energy, music was playing the whole day. I saw the spirit of New Orleans’ people. They were so kind and friendly to all of us. Also I got to see some of my Tulane professors in the floats…this showed me how important and valuable this festivity is to all the community,” Panamanian student Claudia Juárez (LLM ’15) said. “This weekend reminded me how lucky I am to live in this unique city.”
“It was my first ever Mardi Gras and it was a superb experience… Definitely a cultural experience I will not feel anywhere else,” Indonesian student Januar Putra (LLM ’15) said.
But, as Chinese student Dennis Zhao (LLM ’15) noted, the best part of Mardi Gras for many students was the fellowship it fostered. “For me, the greatest moment is to spend time with international friends… the whole international family getting together to share happiness,” Dennis said.
5. For most places in the world, Lundi Gras and Mardi Gras are just an ordinary Monday and Tuesday. Here, they’re days of vibrant celebration (and Tulane Law School holidays).
Who can argue with two days off, especially when they’re packed with so much energy and excitement?