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Laissez les bons temps rouler – Langston Hughes Academy Style

February 21, 2013


By Matt Durham, Corps Member Proudly Serving at Langston Hughes Academy

When I was in school we would never celebrate Mardi Gras. As great as a small town New England childhood can be, king cake and maniacal floats throwing boatloads of beads were just not a part of the mix. Last Friday I got to at least vicariously experience what the students of Langston Hughes Academy get to do every year – our very own Mardi Gras parade called the Krewe of Characters.

In the two weeks leading up to last Friday our scholars were in the middle of a heated competition to see would be in the court for our parade. In lieu of the traditional thrower position on a float our scholars battled for a coveted spot aboard our school director’s boat, which would be towed around our school’s neighborhood. The scholars from each grade who read the most amount of books over a two week time period would win the honor of being king and queen of their grade.

Krewe of Characters began with a performance by the Langston Hughes Academy Marching Eagles. The band has been practicing all year for parade season. This year they secured spots in some of the Crescent City’s most famous parades, including Morpheus and Zulu. Some of the fourth graders I work with every day are in the band and it was inspiring to see them both at Krewe of Characters and the other parades throughout Mardi Gras.

After the performance our the court was announced and we paraded around our neighborhood. Our elementary scholars got to march in the parade, tossing beads to students and faculty in the upper school. Perhaps what was most memorable from our brief trek around the block was the outpouring of support from the people in our neighborhood. In the end I think that’s what’s most important about Mardi Gras – an opportunity for a truly unique community to come together for a unique celebration.

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