North and South express differences on Fat Tuesday

Gwendolyn Ducre

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“Laissez les bons temps rouler!” Let the good times roll. A phrase many southern Louisiana students are familiar with by the time they get to grade school.

Fat Tuesday, most commonly known as a Louisiana holiday Mardi Gras, is celebrated all over the state, but this holiday is usually practiced and appreciated more by Southern Louisiana students than Northern Louisiana students.

Students from the north of the state are aware of this state holiday. However, their excitement may not be as grand as students from the southern part.

The holiday is indeed recognized and celebrated here in the northern parts, but there are fewer students who partake in the holiday than those who do not.

Students of public schools and higher learning institutions are let out for the holiday. Like southern Louisiana, public schools here get a break from school.

Dana King, a freshman pre-pharmacy major from Illinois, said Mardi Gras seems like something when all of Louisiana parties together.

“It would be fun to experience since it’s something new and I would enjoy the good food and festivities like parades,” King said.

Freshman business management major and Monroe native, Frank Swafford, admitted to never attending a Mardi Gras parade and not being affected by what he would call “just another day.”

“But I would go on Bourbon Street just to experience the atmosphere…to see a bunch of happy people freeing themselves,” Swafford said.

Southern students from areas such as Kenner, Lafayette, Slidell, Marrero, Hammond and the heart of all the celebration, New Orleans, have been attending Mardi Gras for a long period of time and have become accustomed to the celebration.

Freshman biology major and New Orleans native Willneisha Hutchinson said she has been attending parades ever since she was 6 years old. She said Mardi Gras is important to her because it’s a holiday that she’s always been around while growing up in New Orleans.

“Over the years I have attended maybe over 15 parades or more. I could describe my experience as being full of excitement by shouting out classmates on the floats and watching high school bands, and catching beads.”

Down south, Mardi Gras is not only celebrated on one day. Typically it is celebrated a week or two, or sometimes a month, before Fat Tuesday.

There are crawfish boils, smaller parades, and even concerts for tourists and natives to enjoy before the Fat Tuesday.

Parades flow through towns and cities all weekend long leading up until the big celebration on Mardi Gras day.