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Sacred Heart Students Work to Make Mardi Gras More Sustainable

Academy Of The Sacred Heart students are helping to make Mardi Gras more sustainable through education and action. On the heels of being awarded the 2022 US Department of Education Green Ribbon School, students are working towards change. 

mardi gras sustainability cardnival action

Upper School Environmental Science and Art students, Sustainability Club, and Craft Club members met multiple times a week for two months to learn and work on building a sustainability-focused Mardi Gras krewe. The students have named their ‘krewe’ CARDnival (named after the school mascot the cardinal and carnival).

mardi gras sustainability cardnival action


Their mission is to spread awareness about the wastefulness of Mardi Gras, generate less waste, and pledge to be less wasteful at Mardi Gras. CARDnival has selected the theme "Trash From The Past" and have formed sub-committees for throws, costume, and float design. 

 mardi gras sustainability cardnival action

The concept to work creatively using Sustainability, and to include all grade levels of Sacred Heart was begun in 2022 by project leader and Sacred Heart educator, MeLissa Kossick Anderson. Students began working hands-on in early January 2023. CARDnival worked with artist, Dr. Shel Roumillat, to learn about waste in connection with curriculum in Environmental Science with Dr. Jaclyn Martin and Art classes with MeLissa Kossick Anderson. Students became ambassadors for waste reduction while celebrating the 'world's largest free party'. 

mardi gras sustainability cardnival action

This education series included welcoming guest speakers to share building skills and techniques. Guests speakers are female entrepreneurs who are Carnival artists using sustainable materials:

Julianne Lagniappe, costume designer, who shared some tricks and materials for costume building with reused items. 

Dr. Shel Roumillat, professional costume designer

Dana Beuhler of Mardi Gras Customs

Lizz Freeman Kelly, Executive Director of ricRack, and textile artist.

Student-driven CARDnival Workshops

This series of workshops advances a deeper awareness of the impact of waste generation at Mardi Gras. CARDnival is innovating and executing creative solutions to reducing waste during Mardi Gras while creating skill-share opportunities for the ASH community. Upper School CARDnival members have visited with all divisions educating students on waste management, what students can do to make a difference, and making throws from recycled materials including grocery store plastic bags and paper bags, plastic drinking bottle, bottle caps, cardboard, old Mardi Gras beads, plastic plates, milk/plastic containers. Costumes and throws were created to be used in school Mardi Gras celebrations in lue of single use plastic items like beads. 

mardi gras sustainability cardnival action

Thought Leadership

Raising Awareness and Reaching ASH Divisions: CARDnival generated a presentation about waste at Mardi Gras and shared with the Upper School, Middle School, and Lower School. CARDnival also skill-shared and led the students in producing handmade, sustainable throws. CARDnival encouraged Upper School students and faculty to make a personal pledge (via our partnership with Grounds Krewe)  to make one change to reduce waste at Mardi Gras. Students spent time at the Grounds Krewe facility making sustainable throws for the krewe of Iris. QUOTE from GROUNDS KREWE, <It was> “so inspiring to have these young ladies at Academy of the Sacred Heart share an art project, presentation, and parade goer pledges all about Mardi Gras sustainability. <The school is> physically right on the route and  <the students are> mentally right on track with this issue. They made Grounds Krewe so proud.” 

Sharing our message with the greater community: CARDnival's "float" is a modern take on 'float' and is more like a house float or art installation rather than a moving float. It will be on display near the Grounds Krewe recycling station in front of the Lower School on the corner of St. Charles and General Pershing, to raise awareness about our school’s 2022 US Department of Education Green Ribbon School distinction and commitment to a more sustainable Mardi Gras celebration.

The "Float" will stay installed Feb. 10 through 20, 2023.

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