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The Showcase of Southeast Texas to perform in New Orleans Mardi Gras parade

The Showcase of Southeast Texas, Lamar University’s marching band, is marching in a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans. The band will march in the “Krewe d’Etat” parade on Fri, Feb. 21 at 6:30 p.m.

Under the direction of Dr. Eric Shannon, the LU marching band performs for thousands of fans and alumni The Showcase Paradeeach year at home football games and select away games as well as major exhibition performances. This is the first time the band has ever participated in Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

 “This trip is a reward to our students for their efforts as marching band members,” said Shannon, director of athletic bands, associate director of bands and assistant professor of music. “It will give them a ‘once-in-a-lifetime experience’ of carnival season in New Orleans.  It also helps market and recruit for LU in the State of Louisiana.”

The band has been practicing its musical selection for the parade since the fall football season, debuting a “Mardi Gras” selection at LU’s final football game against McNeese. The Showcase will be performing three original drum cadences by LU’s percussion professor, Francisco Perez, as well as “Cold Hearted,” by Paula Abdul, “I Like It,” by Cardi B. and “Do Watcha Wanna,” a New Orleans’ style favorite by the Rebirth Brass Band.

“And at the heart of it all is joy,” said Shannon. “I suppose that’s the number one reason we’re taking this trip, actually. Joy. To teach our students how to use their skills as musicians to spread joy to others.“

Meredith De Leon, a senior music education major who plays French horn, has also been a mellophone section leader for the past two years but is now one of three drum majors, says the trip is not like any other she has taken.

“I’m excited for a new experience,” said De Leon. “As a band kid, I’ve done many parades but never one like this.”

The students will get to experience the full scope of Mardi Gras, both as performers in the parade Friday evening but also with some free time on Saturday.

“We want to create opportunities for our students to grow and learn about the world with music as the vessel, and this is a great opportunity for that,” said Shannon.  

Founded in 1996, Le Krewe d'Etat motto is “Live to Ride, Ride to Live. It has been voted "Best of Carnival" by critics and features 21 floats, including a special signature High Priest Float. The krewe's signature throw is the blinking logo skull bead.