LSU Experts Available to Speak about Mardi Gras History and Traditions

Experts can speak on a variety of Mardi Gras-related topics ranging from rituals and folklore to economic impact and tourism 

Mardi Gras

LSU researchers are available to speak on all aspects of the Mardi Gras season – from history and rituals to economic impact and tourism. Photo: LSU Strategic Communications

BATON ROUGE – A number of LSU faculty experts are available for media interviews about toics surrounding Mardi Gras history and traditions. 

To schedule interviews, contact 225-578-5685/ or 225-578-3870/

LSU researchers available to speak on Mardi Gras include:

Alecia P. Long, associate professor, history
Contact: 225-578-4458 /  
Areas of expertise: 19th and 20th century social and cultural history of the United States, especially Louisiana and New Orleans

Carolyn Ware, associate professor, English 
Contact: 225-578-3022 / 
Areas of expertise: Rural Cajun Mardi Gras celebrations, coastal folk culture (especially Plaquemines Parish), Louisiana Croatian folklife, human-animal relationships and veterinary culture

Helen Regis, associate professor, geography and anthropology
Contact: 225-578-6171 / 
Areas of expertise: Mardi Gras marching groups, innovation and tradition, alternative parades, New Orleans, gender, neighborhoods, race/racism, public space

Joyce Marie Jackson, professor of folklore-ethnomusicology, Department of Geography & Anthropology
Contact: 225-578-6078, 225-578-5942 / 
Areas of expertise: New Orleans Black Mardi Gras Indian; street rituals as resistance and transformative agents; Circum-Caribbean (Haiti and Trinidad) carnivalesque culture associations; changing identities; cultural and community sustainability.

Mark Benfield, professor, Department of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences
Contact: 225-578-6372 / 
Areas of expertise: How Mardi Gras beads can become micro plastics that end up in the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico

Mark Martin, LSU Libraries Special Collections photographic processing archivist
Contact: 225-578-6501 / 
Areas of expertise: New Orleans and Baton Rouge Mardi Gras and the Baton Rouge’s Firemen’s Parade of the late-19th and early-20th centuries, which was the Baton Rouge substitute for Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras Indians

LSU researchers study all aspects of Louisiana Mardi Gras with expertise ranging from rural Mardi Gras traditions and folklore to how to create a more environmentally friendly Mardi Gras bead. 

Photo: LSU Strategic Communications

Melissa Lee Smith, assistant curator of manuscripts
Contact: 225-578-5511 /  
Areas of expertise: 19th and 20th century social and cultural history of New Orleans, including the traditions of old line Carnival krewes and African American traditions of social aid and pleasure clubs, the formation of benevolent societies, and Mardi Gras Indians.

Michael Pasquier, associate professor, religious studies and history
Contact: 225-578-2271 /
Areas of expertise: Roman Catholicism in the South, Roman Catholic traditions surrounding Mardi Gras and into lent 

Naohiro Kato, associate professor, biological sciences
Contact: 225-578-2004 / 
Areas of expertise: Traffic control of molecules such as proteins and lipids in plant cells; developing biodegradable Mardi Gras beads and doubloons from algae 

Stephen Barnes, associate professor of research; director of the Economics and Policy Research Group
Contact: 225-578-3783 /
Areas of expertise: Economic benefits of tourism and Mardi Gras; labor economics; health economics; regional economics; public finance; applied econometric and environmental related studies

Wes Shrum, professor, sociology
Contact: 225-578-5319 /
Areas of expertise: Ritual disrobement at Mardi Gras, nudity, new traditions


LSU Libraries Special Collections:

The LSU Libraries have a number of collections related to Mardi Gras history and traditions:

For more information, contact LSU Libraries Special Collections at 225-578-6544 or



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In the News:

March 4, 2019
Off the beaten path: Small towns use Mardi Gras to create unique identity, build community
The Advocate

February 22, 2019
It's time to rethink Mardi Gras—without tons of plastic beads
National Geographic

February 21, 2019
Biodegradable Mardi Gras beads update

February 20, 2019
LSU sophomore to reign as Queen Zulu 2019 in New Orleans
The Advocate

February 19, 2019
New Orleans heating up for a late, great Mardi Gras -- here's what's new for Carnival
The Advocate

February 18, 2019
Making Mardi Gras "Greener" with biodegradable beads
Tiger TV

February 17, 2019
LSU scientists will be scanning Mississippi River for Mardi Gras beads after Carnival; here's why
The Advocate

February 13, 2019
LSU band joining Zulu parade in honor of queen-select

King Zulu 2019 heads to NOLA senior center

February 11, 2019
LSU student to reign over New Orleans' Zulu parade

LSU student named queen of Zulu Krewe, Tiger Golden Band to play alongside her in Mardi Gras parade

LSU student named queen of Zulu Krewe, Tiger Golden Band to play alongside her in Mardi Gras parade
Fox 8

Zulu's youngest queen is also the first LSU student selected for the honor

New Orleans native Kailyn Rainey will be the 1st Queen Zulu from LSU

Think pink! Spanish Town flamingos flock to LSU lakes

It's time! Photos: Spanish Town Mardi Gras pink flamingo lake flocking
The Advocate

February 10, 2019:
When first LSU student Zulu queen rides, Golden Band from Tigerland will march alongside her

The Advocate

Hail Zulu! 2019 Zulu Queen makes her grand arrival at airport

Zulu throws royal welcome for youngest queen in krewe history

Zulu King-elect greets Queen-select at airport: See photos

February 8, 2019
Biodegradable Mardi Gras Beads
LPB’s Louisiana: The State We’re In

February 6, 2019
Biodegradable Mardi Gras beads face cost hurdle
The Advocate

January 29, 2019
LSU professor refines process to make biodegradable Mardi Gras beads

LSU professor refines process to make biodegradable Mardi Gras beads

LSU professor working to create biodegradable Mardi Gras beads
The Daily Advertiser 

Biodegradable Carnival beads are a pricey prospect
New Orleans City Business

January 22, 2019
LSU professors explain cultural phenomena surrounding Mardi Gras
The Daily Reveille



Contact Ernie Ballard
LSU Media Relations


Alison Satake
LSU Media Relations