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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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OPINION | Love New Orleans after Mardi Gras

Taylor Fishman

“America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.” 

This iconic Tennessee Williams quote encapsulates the spirit of New Orleans. In a city like no other, Tulane University students have the privilege to experience a truly unique culture. Following Mardi Gras festivities, students may be feeling more connected to the city than ever, but this connection should extend beyond Fat Tuesday and the days leading up to it.  

New Orleans is not our playground to use for a week of partying in February, but rather, it is a city with a rich history that is graciously hosting us. Fostering connections with the local community can enrich students’ experiences, deepen their understanding of societal issues and cultivate a sense of local pride.

New Orleans boasts a rich tapestry of cultural traditions, from jazz music to Creole cuisine. By engaging with the local community, Tulane students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in these vibrant cultural experiences, broadening their perspectives and enriching their lives beyond the classroom. How can students tap into this culture when it’s not as easy as walking down to St. Charles Avenue for a parade?

While Tulane students are encouraged to connect with the city through community service, which is extremely important, there are more ways to get to know the city. Firstly, there are more bars in New Orleans than The Boot, The Palms or F&M’s! I know, shocking. For students over 21, it’s time to explore past the Tulane bubble — or Bourbon Street — and take a trip to Miss Mae’s or Anna’s in the Bywater to get a taste of New Orleans.

Beyond bars, New Orleans offers some of the best cuisine in this country. Ditch the Lavin-Bernick Center’s food court for a night and try some local cuisine at Saint John or po-boys at Adams Street Grocery.

It’s important that students learn about the city they call home. New Orleans provides a number of opportunities to learn its complex history in an engaging, entertaining and impactful manner. Walk around a cemetery, visit a museum or tour a historic home. You can even go on a ghost tour. All of these activities will let students understand and appreciate their city in a deeper way.

Tulane students do not always have the best reputation amongst locals. Engaging with the community provides an opportunity to change this reputation. Since most Tulane students hail from different parts of the country, largely the Northeast, they bring different cultural norms. While living in the city, students should be open to Southern norms, and specifically those are rooted in New Orleans culture. If you love Mardi Gras, you will love the rest of what the city has to offer — embrace it. 

There’s nothing wrong with falling in love with New Orleans during Mardi Gras, but the city has more to offer year-round. Tulane University students have the special opportunity to bridge gaps between the campus and community and engage in some of the timeless pursuits the city has to offer. Not only can they enrich their own learning and academic experiences but also play a part in the vibrant tapestry of New Orleans life.  

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