Some college cities celebrate Fat Tuesday in a big way
It’s Mardi Gras time! February 12th marks Fat Tuesday, and cities across the nation celebrate with festivals, floats, and food. Students who attend college in towns with Mardi Gras traditions enjoy a special treat each year, and while the carnival may be the same, each party town celebrates in a unique way.
Here are some colleges that take part in Mardi Gras celebrations!
University of Mobile, Mobile, Alabama
Students at Mobile have the opportunity to enjoy the oldest Mardi Gras celebration in the country. Back in 1703, when Mobile was the capital of French Louisiana, Mardi Gras was known as Boeuf Gras (Fat Beef) and soldiers and settlers celebrated the Catholic holiday with masked balls and parades. Traditions haven’t changed much since then, as the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras are packed with a full parade schedule and plenty of balls. Mystic societies host the balls and organize the parades to this day, some of which have been around for over a 100 years. The University of Mobile cancels classes on Fat Tuesday so students can enjoy the festivities downtown.
The University of Mobile is a private Baptist university founded in 1961. Mobile is a small school with just over 1,650 students total, and over 200 students in the freshmen class. Mobile’s "3-2" engineering program with Auburn University and the University of South Alabama allows students to complete one bachelor’s degree at Mobile in 3 years, and then complete another B.A. in Engineering at one of the participating schools.
Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana
Residents and tourists alike know there is no place like New Orleans during Mardi Gras season. For college students, Mardi Gras becomes a who’s who of the collegiate world when tourists from schools across the nation descend upon the city. Located just a few miles away from the parade route on St. Charles Avenue, Loyola students enjoy both the day before and the day of Mardi Gras with no classes to celebrate the occasion. New Orleans has observed Mardi Gras since the 18th century, when “krewes” began forming to throw balls and parades. Decked out in purple, green, and gold with a wreath of beads hung over their necks, students at Loyola New Orleans know how to have a good time.
Loyola University New Orleans is a private Jesuit school located in the uptown neighborhood of New Orleans. Across the street from Audubon Park, and a short walk away from the Mississippi River, Loyola has one of the best music industry programs in the country. By combining musical performance with business, Loyola’s program prepares students to become industry experts on-stage and behind the scenes.
Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis’ historic French district, Soulard, hosts the city’s Mardi Gras celebration each year. Known as the country’s second largest Mardi Gras celebration, the Soulard Mardi Gras boasts thousands of partiers each year, including local residents and students. While St. Louis was founded in 1764 by French settlers, Mardi Gras was not observed until well into the 20th century. Beginning with private parties, Mardi Gras in Soulard is now a grand and public event. Wash U students have the opportunity to partake in city celebrations including “Krewe of Barkus,” a parade for dogs, and the evening parade on Fat Tuesday.
Washington University in St. Louis is a highly selective private university. Wash U has been the host to more presidential and vice presidential debates than any other institution. Wash U offers students a hands-on learning experience, with more than 60% of undergraduates involved in faculty research.
Mardi Gras is celebrated in cities across the United States, but these towns know how to celebrate Fat Tuesday in a big way. Students attending schools in Mobile, New Orleans, St. Louis, and other Mardi Gras cities experience rich cultures and longstanding traditions vital to the city around them, and graduate with some truly unique memories. Have a happy Mardi Gras!