When FranU Alum Elise Abshire, Theology Class of 2021, started her first year at the University of Dayton, and when Mardi Gras started to approach, she realized it would be odd not to celebrate.
"I started planning and had major support from the chair of my department and other professors. One professor actually makes red beans every year and had some beads to share with me for the parade. So, Mardi Gras wasn't necessarily a foreign concept, but it also wasn't celebrated at the university."
The University President even pitched in by letting Elise borrow his golf cart to decorate and use. She said that they had multiple faculty and students walking in the parade behind the cart and that they surprised many undergrads during their change of classes.
She also placed a Bluetooth speaker at the top of the cart and played Mardi Gras music. "There was great shock but then joy on the faces of undergrads and members of my department. After, we all feasted on red beans and king cake. I made lots of king cakes and started forgetting how many babies I had put in them; one professor had twins in her piece!"
"This year, I'm thrilled to have Hunter Doiron (Theology Class of 2022), a fellow FranU grad, Louisianian and friend, to help with the shenanigans. I'm sure it will be twice as awesome and now, the department is in full support of the second annual parade. I can be transplanted to the Midwest for graduate studies, but I'll never lose my Cajun French roots!"
Elise is pictured above driving the Mardi Gras decorated golf cart on loan from the University President around Humanities Plaza with parade in tow at the University of Dayton on Mardi Gras day 2022.