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

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, tourism and social sustainability

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 

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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Contact Ernie Ballard
LSU Media Relations


Alison Satake
LSU Media Relations