The Maroon

Loyola community urges safety during Mardi Gras

Mairead Cahill

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‘Tis the season for krewes and king cake. Meanwhile, Loyola students are being urged to plan ahead and stay safe as New Orleans prepares for the biggest party of the year: Mardi Gras.

It arrives every year with the promise of parades filled with beads and glitter, but university officials are encouraging students to put as much thought into safety as they do for their costumes.

“Plan ahead and let friends know what your plan is and follow it,” Roger Pinac, Loyola University Police Department captain, said.

He also suggested students “avoid wandering” and said to “trust your instincts” when out at parades.

“Intoxicated students make easy targets for criminals,” he said.

But, in addition to warning against criminals, Pinac wants students to remember that Mardi Gras is primarily a family affair.

“Contrary to MTV, it is not ‘anything goes.’ Most families don’t watch MTV nor do they have much of a sense of humor if you engage in offensive behavior,” he said.

Besides catching beads, drinking is the other established activity of the Mardi Gras season that Pinac said students should be wary of.

“If you intend to consume alcohol, do so in moderation. Drinking is only half the coin. Know where you can go to the bathroom, legally,” he said, adding that parade goers should “never leave your drink unattended.”

As a residential assistant for the freshman in Biever Hall, management senior Aubrey Palhegyi described Mardi Gras as “a complex time.”

“This is a time of year when it’s really really really easy to get in trouble,” Palhegyi said.

He told his residents to “look out for one another’ and “listen to advice” if they wanted to have a safe and enjoyable Mardi Gras.

Palhegyi also reminded his residents about the amnesty policy in place at the university, which is a policy that would protect an individual from punishment in certain situations if they sought help from LUPD for an intoxicated friend, despite being under-age.

“If somebody needs help, call,” he said during a Mardi Gras safety floor meeting in the freshman dorm.

Christina Murphy and Wendy Yang, both Health Advocates at Loyola were also present at the floor meeting in Biever to advise the residents how to stay safe during the parade season.

The Health Advocates also warned the freshman in attendance at the floor meeting about recreational drug use during Carnival season.

“This is not the time of year to try something that you do not know, especially synthetic marijuana,” said Murphy. “It’s very different from actual weed because it has a myriad of side effects.”

She also warned students about Fentanyl, an opioid that Murphy said has caused many deaths over the last year.

Sophomore Nicole Bouchie had her first taste of Mardi Gras last year as a freshman at Loyola.

“I luckily had a safe Mardi Gras last year despite not knowing much about New Orleans,” Bouchie said.

“I personally did not hear any horror stories about drug use during Mardi Gras last year, but it would not surprise me if there was a slight problem. It’s very easy to go overboard so I’d definitely recommend listening to advice from Loyola organizations and the administration itself when being safe during parade season,” she said.

As she gears up for round two this year, Bouchie shared her recommendations for a safe and successful Mardi Gras.

“I’d definitely say to plan ahead and definitely ensure a buddy system and make sure you travel in groups because it is extremely easy to get separated from your friends,” Bouchie said.

To stay up to date throughout this Mardi Gras season, students can text MARDIGRAS to 888777 for safety alerts from the Mayor’s Office.

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Loyola community urges safety during Mardi Gras