Aoun kicks off Mardi Gras with students

Aoun kicks off Mardi Gras with students

Students piled into Levine Marketplace and were greeted by a smile and Mardi Gras beads from President Joseph Aoun last night, as jazz tunes and the smell of Cajun food filled the air.

Beads in hand, President Aoun stopped to ask one student jokingly, “Which color: gold or gold?”

It was Aoun’s first time at the annual President’s Late Night Mardi Gras Breakfast. The two-hour event was co-sponsored by the Office for Student Affairs and Chartwells, and 1,600 to 2,000 people attend every year, said Deb Fantasia, director of Levine Marketplace and organizer of the breakfast.

Aoun said he saw the breakfast as an opportunity to connect with students and wanted to continue the tradition.

“Some of the students told me it’s the best event of the year,” he said. “You get to meet the students and everybody’s having fun. There’s a great student life at Northeastern and I’m discovering it every day.”

The dining hall was decorated in gold, green and purple, and stocked with food to commemorate Fat Tuesday. King cake was presented with the warning, “Be aware of baby,” because the student who found a toy baby in their cake would receive a special gift.

The breakfast featured three contests, and awarded each winner $100. Students signed up for the contests at the dining services website and in the dining hall beforehand. Fifteen students were randomly chosen to participate in each contest.

Brian Engelson, a sophomore biology major, won one of the contests, which challenged him to eat 10 bowls of cereal as fast as possible. Engelson, who participated in the same event last year, said he loved the contest.

“You get really nervous, then really excited when everyone cheers for you,” he said.

The Hot Tamale Brass Band provided music for the breakfast. Mickey Bones, the Hot Tamale Brass Band’s drummer, said he had a lot of fun playing at Northeastern and that it’s “a great party.”

“I like the enthusiastic crowd, the food’s great and we love playing for the contest,” Bones said.

The NU Pep Band played songs like “Louie Louie” and “Hey Baby” at the event. It was their first time participating in the Mardi Gras Breakfast. Adam Skelskie, president of the NU Pep Band, said it was a good way for the band to gain exposure.

Students continued to arrive at the event more than an hour after it began. Many of them had come previous years and were returning for more Mardi Gras food like New Orleans pralines, cr

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