Skip to main

Celebrating Mardi Gras at Great Hearts Harveston in Baton Rouge

Great Hearts Harveston February 12, 2024 -

Students at Great Hearts Harveston Mardi Gras Fest.

Great Hearts Harveston, the Great Hearts academy located in East Baton Rouge, hosted its first Mardi Gras Fest! Parents and guardians were invited to cheer on the scholars as they celebrated the rich culture and history of Mardi Gras season with a parade at the campus on Bluebonnet Boulevard.

Students at Great Hearts Harveston Mardi Gras parade holding banner.Mardi Gras festivities are closely associated with New Orleans but are also enthusiastically observed across southern Louisiana. The term “Mardi Gras” translates to “Fat Tuesday” in French, marking the tradition of indulging in rich, fatty foods on the eve of Lent, a period of fasting. The season kicks off on King’s Day, January 6, and culminates at midnight before Ash Wednesday. In the final week of Mardi Gras, a plethora of events take place that feature vibrant parades and glamorous masquerade balls.

To honor and participate in this local tradition unique to the Creole State. Kim Houdashelt, a fourth-grade lead teacher, organized a student Mardi Gras parade along with a gymnasium exhibit displaying shoebox “floats” that the students created.

Teacher at Great Hearts Harveston Mardi Gras parade.“It was a pleasure to be part of the planning process of Great Hearts Harveston’s first annual Mardi Gras parade and celebration,” said Houdashelt. “As a parent and teacher, I feel it’s important in cultivating traditions that promote a sense of community and enjoyment. Seeing the joy and laughter upon all of our K-7 scholars and teachers really warmed my heart. My hope is that these traditions allow Great Hearts Harveston to stand out amongst the rest and show our community that Great Hearts is not only a place to grow young scholars academically, but also well-rounded individuals.”

Parents brought chairs and sat around the parameter of the back parking lot as students marched in a parade formation for them. The parade was complete with banners, colorful masks, and the traditional throwing of beads to onlookers.

In the gymnasium, several shoebox floats that students created where displayed. These scale models of the much larger floats found in larger parades were intricate and colorful. The style of these floats captured the true spirit of the celebration. All floats were created at home with the theme, “What have you learned thus far?” Students decorated their shoebox based on a lesson, project, or subject from this school year and the floats could not be any larger than one shoebox.

Shoebox floats at Great Hearts Harveston Mardi Gras Fest.

The inaugural Mardi Gras Fest at Great Hearts Harveston brought together students, parents, and teachers in a celebration that beautifully blended learning and tradition. The event showcased not only the academic growth of the scholars but also their creativity and community spirit. As we bid adieu to this year’s festivities, let us eagerly anticipate the joy and camaraderie that the future holds. And as Houdashelt reminded us, “Laissez les bons temps rouler.” Which is a timeless Louisiana motto meaning, “Let the good times roll!”

Students at Great Hearts Harveston Mardi Gras Fest.

Do you have a story or know of a story that you would like to see featured at Great Hearts?  Please contact