Incoming first-year Tulane University students have been getting a taste of Mardi Gras this summer as part of the university’s New Student Orientation.
At Mardi Gras World, the largest float designing and building facility in the world, new students in town for orientation get introduced to New Orleans’ iconic tradition. (Photo by Rusty Blazenhoff)
After a busy day on the uptown campus meeting new classmates, exploring residence halls, sampling the dining options and learning about course offerings, 160 new students boarded buses for a trip to Mardi Gras World
in downtown New Orleans on a recent orientation sojourn.
Set against the backdrop of old and new Mardi Gras floats, tour guides taught students about the history of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Students learned about the roles and traditions of the many Carnival krewes, as well as the cost and time involved in producing the massive spectacle of Mardi Gras.
On the tour, students saw floats from past parades as well as partially finished floats being constructed for next year’s Mardi Gras. After the tour, students were treated to a dessert reception featuring sweets both local — bread pudding — and universal—a sundae bar.
They also had the opportunity to demonstrate what they had learned during earlier orientation classes through a trivia contest.
Tulane hosts nine orientation events for students and parents during the summer. While parents attend a dessert reception
at the Alumni House, students go off-campus, either to Mardi Gras World or Rock ’n’ Bowl
This is the first year that students have visited Mardi Gras World, says Brad Romig, assistant director for orientation and parent programs. With the facility’s combination of living history, cultural education and spectacular views of the Mississippi River, Romig is hopeful that Mardi Gras World will continue to partner with Tulane to introduce new students to New Orleans’ iconic tradition.
Alex Chasick, a freelance writer living in New Orleans, is a 2005 graduate of Tulane University.