Tulane’s Spring Break will run during Mardi Gras 2019

Julia Prager-Hessel, Contributing Reporter

Courtesy of Tulane University Admissions Blog – Jeff Schiffman

During Mardi Gras season, many students are motivated in the spring semester by the collection of festivals and opportunities to escape the classroom. With the thrill of the parades and the sounds of New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the excitement of the Tulane community grows.

According to the Office of the University Registrar’s calendar, however, Mardi Gras and spring break will run simultaneously for the spring of 2019.

Though many students were surprised at this change – typically the two breaks are separate and spaced out across the semester – the combined break is not unheard of. It has happened twice in the last decade, both times when Mardi Gras fell in early March.

“This has pretty much always been the pattern,” University Registrar Colette Raphel said. “When Easter falls later in April as it does this year, then spring break is usually during Mardi Gras. When Easter falls early in April, then spring break is usually in March. Really, we are at the will of the lunar calendar. It all depends on the moon.”

Mardi Gras is notably on the later side this year. The famous carnival always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, which always falls 46 days before Easter Sunday. Easter itself can fall between late March and late April and, with Easter being on April 21 in 2019, the holiday pulls Mardi Gras late as a result. Because spring break usually includes Easter, the logistics of including a larger spring break so late in the semester might have crept into finals season.

Tulane is also restricted by college accreditation requirements in terms of how many days off from class the registrar’s office can give students.

“We have a required number of meeting days for academic classes each term,” Raphael said. “In order to accommodate giving everyone Lundi Gras and Mardi Gras off every year, and depending on when Mardi Gras falls, academic calendars have to be adjusted.”

In the past, students have sometimes gotten three separate breaks for Mardi Gras, spring break and Easter. In these instances, however, spring break has only been four days, as opposed to an entire week.

Still, some students are not pleased with the decision to attach Spring Break to Mardi Gras.

“I really was looking forward to the experience of Mardi Gras and then getting a full week to be with my family at home, because freshman year is a lot,” freshman Bethany Gleiser said. “I definitely feel like I have to split my time.”

Though this decision tapers down the amount of total break time for students, a single break might offer Tulane a more seamless academic culture.

“Professors think that the spring semester is a really hard semester in New Orleans, and many people will talk about it as a disaster because it’s broken up into all these mini breaks,” Tulane English professor Edward White said. “A lot of people are expecting that it will make this semester a lot smoother, more like how it functions at other universities.”

Despite the shortened break schedule that combining spring break and Mardi Gras causes, the single vacation might encourage more students to explore New Orleans after Mardi Gras and could create a less fractured academic schedule.

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