Mardi Gras is a traditional holiday that people in Louisiana look forward to every single year in February. It is also extremely popular amongst Southern University students who have roots throughout the Southern part of the country.

Said holiday has proven to be so traditional and omnipresent of a cultural event that the University gives students a two-day break (Monday-Tuesday) every Spring so that they can celebrate it. This year, the fanfare was boosted to the umpteenth degree with both Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day falling on the same weekend! Doesn’t that sound like fun?

The answer ultimately turned out to be no. We are still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and there was a winter storm this past weekend that left large parts of the Baton Rouge area without power for exceedingly long stretches of time. Mardi Gras was already canceled in New Orleans due to COVID regulations, but the weather made things even worse for the state as a whole. This isn’t even to mention the deadly impact that the storm had on the occupants of our neighboring state such as Texas.

February 14th was not bad, but it started getting extremely cold later that night. Monday morning, students woke up to ice covering the ground and trees outside. A lot of people could not even get in their cars because the ice sealed it shut. The roads were covered in ice, making it very unsafe to drive, and the situation developed in such a way where even I-110 was shut down throughout the early periods of the week.

As previously mentioned, the power and water went out for a lot of people throughout Baton Rouge, including a large number of college students hailing from Southern University and LSU. A lot of students had to sleep in the freezing temperatures with no heat. They had to use their cars to charge their phones and warm themselves up.

The university was forced to shut down on Wednesday and Thursday due to the winter storm and power outages, which extended the prolonged Mardi Gras weekend students had been on leading into the storm. Teachers had to extend deadlines for assignments, because students did not have electricity to do their homework. A lot of organizations also had to postpone their virtual events.

If we’re keeping count then, this long weekend qualifies as one of the worst that inhabitants of the Southern states have had to deal with in years. While we all feel sympathy for the families adversely affected by the storm, I speak for a lot of students when I wish that times were normal so we could go out and safely celebrate Mardi Gras. The only good that came out of this storm was that hopefully Southern students and faculty could catch up on sleep! Hopefully next year Mardi Gras will be much better.

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