Rowan After Hours celebrates Mardi Gras with music and food at “Mardi RAH” event

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Students gathered around the student center pit to create masks, beads and other Mardi Gras styled crafts. - Intern / Bryant Lopez

Louisiana came to Rowan on Friday, Feb. 10, as Rowan After Hours hosted “Mardi RAH” at the Chamberlain Student Center Pit. The event included activities such as face painting, make-your-own-masks and food. Students were given strings of beads, known as throws in Mardi Gras celebrations, upon entry.

“I think Mardi Gras is a great event, especially because of the music. There’s also something for everyone,” said Jennifer Palladino, DIY Project Coordinator. “I mean, that’s the great thing about RAH. There’s always something different every night and this is just a great celebration for anyone.”

The food provided by Gourmet Dining had ties to Louisiana cuisine, such as chicken, sausage, jambalaya rice, red beans and cornbread. 

The highlight of the night was the live performance by Zydeco-a-Go-Go. The band consists of Bob Holden on the drums, Randy Lippincott on the bass guitar, Gary Brooks on the saxophone, Don Evans on the guitar and Pete Gumbo on the accordion. The band plays zydeco, a music genre in southwest Louisiana. 

The band has been together since 1995 and has toured across the country, playing in states such as Florida, Maine, Louisiana, New Jersey and New York, to name a few.

Zydeco-a-Go-Go loves playing at Rowan, and it was their third time at the University.

“They like to celebrate Mardi Gras here, so we hooked it up and we really enjoy the audiences,” Gumbo said.

The band loves that they can bring zydeco music to a younger generation. 

“I just think it’s great that the university would bring us in and expose you younger people to this music. The audience is growing. We get people from here to say ‘I saw you guys when I was in school over there, at Rowan,’” Gumbo said. 

Gumbo was first exposed to zydeco when he first traveled to New Orleans in 1978 for the New Orleans Jazz Heritage Festival. He fell in love with the genre when he heard Clifton Chenier.

“So, you know, lots of times people hear it for the first time and say, wow, what is that? So it, you know, catches their ears pretty well,” Gumbo said. “It’s good music. It feels good. Music makes people feel good. People get stressed out and this kind of music makes you release, you know, makes you feel good.”

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