California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

Filler ad

“Naughty Gras” Raises Money for Katrina Victims

A student dons her Naughty Gras mask during the festivities, which included music, food, dancing and general partying.

Over five years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, students in a Recreation senior seminar class organized a Mardi Gras-themed event to raise money for victims of the natural disaster.

Mardi Gras is a Fat Tuesday party day designated for splurging on sinful activities in preparation for Lent—a 40-day long tradition when Christians give something up in honor of the sacrifice Jesus made for them.

Students in Professor Mary Fortune’s Special Events Management class worked all quarter on a mock Mardi Gras event—which they named Naughty Gras—in order to hype up the campus and raise money for still-struggling victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

“Everyone loves a good Mardi Gras party and this happened to fall right in place with our quarter,” said Jennifer Clark, the event coordinator for Naughty Gras.

The class was split up into groups, such as finance and management, to plan the event on their own. Fortune was there to offer advice and help, but the students took the lead on the project.

The class worked with ASI to get the word out, sending event invitations out to friends on their Facebook page, as well as distributing flyers around campus. Other members of the campus community also helped to sponsor the event.

Dr. Mary Fortune led a dance-off during the Naughty Gras event, held last Tuesday, which raised money for the Red Cross, who would donate the proceeds to victims of Hurricane Katrina that are still suffering five years after the disaster. Dr. Fortune’s senior Recreation and Wellness class planned the event independently with her guidance.

“It’s just to get the crowd pumped for Mardi Gras and raise some money for Hurricane Katrina victims through the American Red Cross,” added Clark.

New Orleans, a popular destination for Mardi Gras partiers, was devastated by Katrina in 2005 and has a lot of improvements still to be done. The Special Events class chose New Orleans as their charity target for this reason.

“New Orleans is still in ruins,” said Clark. “We have to build it up and keep it going.”

Event goers were encouraged, but not required, to donate some money at a table prior to entering the Multipurpose Room in the New Union to benefit those still feeling the hit from the hurricane. Funds collected were donated to the American Red Cross.

“I think that’s a great idea,” said Bradley Whisenhunt, a chemistry major. “I think some people kind of forgot over time about Katrina. It was kind of put on the back burner, but it’s good that it’s something we’re still aware of.”

The event exuded the traditional feel of Mardi Gras, with bright colors, Cajun food, beads and masks. A costume contest and dance party were the center of the festivities.

Emcee Sean Dudy was pleased with the turnout, which was admittedly due to the free food.

“We had a lot of people in here prior to running out of food,” said Dudy. “So now we’ve got the music going to pump people up and get them dancing.”

In spite of running out of food, Naughty Gras was a success, and though the event was in the middle of a Tuesday during the tenth week of the winter quarter—a term infamous for low student participation—a dance party ensued.

“As an emcee, you have to get everyone’s attention,” said Dudy. “You have to match the energy, and sometimes kind of provide the energy.”

A few freestyle raps, a lot of good food and a conga line later, the class could be satisfied that they were able to provide a fun event for students as well as exercise their philanthropic right.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Pioneer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
California State University East Bay
“Naughty Gras” Raises Money for Katrina Victims