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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

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‘I really felt one with the city’: Professors, students reflect on parades

Professors+and+students%2C+like+junior+Isabelle+Smith+showed+their+love+for+New+Orleans+by+joining+in+on+the+parade+festivities.+
Courtesy of Cirque du Force
Professors and students, like junior Isabelle Smith showed their love for New Orleans by joining in on the parade festivities.

As winter fades and spring approaches, New Orleans celebrates its beloved festival season, starting with the extravagant festivities of Mardi Gras. 

The Carnival season can span from January to March, kicking off this year on Jan. 6 with the Feast of the Epiphany and culminating in the famous Fat Tuesday, the date of which varies annually based on Easter.

At Tulane University, students and professors immerse themselves in the festivities, joining parades in various roles.

Patrick Bordnick, the dean of the school of social work, walked with his family as the Court of Cats in the Chewbacchus parade, rode in the Société des Champs Elysée and rode in the Krewe of Tucks.

“[Société des Champs Elysée] engages in community service year-round, including weekly feeding programs and distributing backpacks filled with essentials to unhoused community members during carnival season,” Bordnick said. “Krewe of Tucks is a fun krewe that actively contributes to the community through donations, volunteering, and visits. We enjoy crafting unique throws, with decorated plungers and toilet brushes being signature items.” 

Bordnick and his daughter, freshman Mae-Ying, also created the Court of Cats for Chewbacchus.

Patrick Bordnick, the dean of the school of social work, and the Queen of Tucks visited the Children’s Hospital.

“Mae-Ying envisioned a Krewe of cats distributing pieces of yarn as throws,” Bordnick said. “She also came up with the name ‘Court of Cats’ and took on the role of the ‘Empurrrer’ as our Krewe leader. We collaborate with a local artist to create unique papier-mâché cat heads for each member. We’re always open to new members.”

Junior Isabelle Smith also marched in Chewbacchus in her family krewe, “Cirque Du Force,” a spiff on Cirque Du Soleil and Star Wars.

Smith described how the energy from the parade is infectious, and a great way to kick off Mardi Gras. Smith said participating in a parade made her want to come to Tulane, and that parades make her feel one with the city.

Casey Love, a professor in political science and an associate dean for global education, has danced with a hot pink and silver all-female dance krewe in the Krewe of Muses every year since 2004. 

“The group provides an avenue for creative expression and camaraderie among an amazing, diverse group of women,” Love said. “We build our performance around a unique theme, and our dances and costumes reflect that theme. It’s something new each year.”

Besides riding and dancing along the streets in the Krewes, Tulanians also follow their family traditions. 

Love believes Mardi Gras “cannot really be understood—it can only be lived,” which she does by creating costumes each year and barbecuing on the neutral ground for the Saturday parades. 

Smith enjoys the Muses shoes throws and prominently displays a purple and silver glittery high heel with rhinestones and feathers in her house. Bordnick and his family decorate their house with souvenirs from Mardi Gras, both big and small. 

“I particularly enjoy handcrafted throws from our talented local artists,” Bordnick said. “We are avid collectors of unique and vintage Mardi Gras items, including art. Our home, the Raven House Nola, features 5-foot ravens from a previous Mardi Gras float featuring Edgar Allan Poe, and we had a 5-foot King Cake on our porch crafted by a local artist.”

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