HOP ignites the spirit of Mardi Gras

By MARCIA ZIMMERMAN | February 18, 2016

The Hopkins Organization for Programming (HOP), a student group with a mission to provide entertainment to enhance the undergraduate experience on Homewood campus, hosted a Mardi Gras event in the Glass Pavilion on Tuesday, Feb. 9. The event’s page on Facebook advertised it as a “taste of all things ‘Nawlins.”

Today Mardi Gras is popularly known as a day in New Orleans to celebrate and wear shiny plastic bead necklaces colored purple, green or gold. There are parades, a variety of foods and revelry all through the city.

Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday,” historically meant to signify a time of indulgence before the start of Lent, the Christian fasting season. It is the last day of Carnival, which is essentially a six-week long party in places like Venice, Brazil and New Orleans. Since the HOP cannot send all Hopkins undergraduates to New Orleans, the group decided to bring the fun to campus.

As students entered, they lined up for Cajun food from Popeyes and then sat with friends at tables in the middle of the room as the JHU Jazz Band played lively “‘Nawlins” jazz on the stage. The food consisted of buttery biscuits, fried cajun chicken and a King cake, a traditional dessert with Mardi-Gras-colored icing. The HOP also provided southern sweet tea and lemonade.

One logistical issue that occurred was that once the tables in the room filled up, most students simply got their free food and left.

“I came down because I heard there was food. I was happy because the food was really satisfying, and I especially loved the dessert and drinks,” freshman Eric Waelbroeck said. “The atmosphere was okay. There was a table with a bunch of fun Mardi Gras knickknacks you could put on, which some students were having fun with. I got my food and left... mission accomplished! I ended up going to Levering to eat instead because the tables were full.”

Johns Hopkins Entertainers Club (JHEC), a performance and entertainment group on campus, was also present at the event.

“The event ended early, so we ended up just closing the event for those leaving,” Andrew Dykman, a performer with JHEC, wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “We did juggling and fire spinning, which is related to the fireworks and shows at Mardi Gras.”

While nothing can replicate Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the HOP did its best to bring the spirit and fun of the city and celebration to the Homewood campus.

In addition to the Mardi Gras event, The HOP provides events for students year-round. Last semester, they hosted Hoptoberfest which was replete with a campfire, therapy pets day, a pie eating contest and a culminating We the Kings concert.

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