Elon celebrates Mardi Gras with plenty of food and fun

Live music was paired with sweet and spicy culinary delights throughout the day as the university offered its own version of this iconic celebration.

Elon sported the purple, green and gold on Tuesday as the campus celebrated Mardi Gras throughout the day with a special College Coffee and a New Orleans-themed takeover of campus dining halls for lunch and dinner.

Mardi Gras at College Coffee, February 13, 2024.

At College Coffee, Alumni Gym was filled with jazz music and an array of Mardis Gras and New Orleans treats including King Cake, beignets and bananas foster doughnut holes for College Coffee, with attendees draping themselves in beads and hiding behind colorful masks.

For President Connie Ledoux Book, who grew up in Louisiana, the annual celebration is particularly meaningful.

“Celebrating Mardi Gras here at Elon brings together two of my favorite things,” she said. “Seeing the faces of colleagues and students enjoying King Cake and learning about the Louisiana traditions associated with Fat Tuesday my family has celebrated over the years brings so much joy. This year we added a wonderful performance by the Elon Jazz Band that really made it a special celebration.”

The musical performance was particularly thrilling for Sarah Dawkins ’25. “I enjoyed hearing the jazz band at College Coffee because I have a love for and personal connection to jazz music,” she said. “My dad plays guitar, and I’ve enjoyed listening to him play jazz my whole life, so it is great to hear it on campus.”

Mardi Gras at McEwen Dining Hall, February 13, 2024.

Dining Halls across campus flipped their menus to take diners to Louisiana for lunch and dinner with an array of specialties featuring crawfish and other seafood, mocktails, balloon artists and photobooths. For those not in the know, a crawfish demonstration offered an opportunity to learn how to eat the bright red crustaceans and live music set the scene.

“The food looks so good for Mardi Gras,” said Morgan Oljeski ’27. “I’m looking forward to the seafood boil because I’ve never had it, and it looks good.”

The food and music were definitely the stars of the show on Fat Tuesday, as people across campus got a taste of Bourbon Street and classic New Orleans in celebration of Mardi Gras.

“A big thank you to our partner Harvest Table for going all out to create special menus for the dining halls,” Book said.