Irish celebrate Mardi Gras on location

first_imgThis Fat Tuesday, some Notre Dame students will be celebrating with authentic Mardi Gras spirit straight from the Big Easy. “It’s definitely an experience coming down, even with a budget,” senior Justin Asuncion said about his trip to New Orleans this past weekend. “It’s a great experience that every Notre Dame student should take if you can.” Asuncion and fellow seniors Andrew Charnesky and Joe Caparros drove through the night Thursday to arrive in New Orleans by Friday morning, where they experienced traditions ranging from parades to Southern cookouts, they said.  “We had the opportunity to go to an authentic crawfish boil,” Charnesky said. “We’re not from the South; we’d never heard of a crawfish boil before, but it was some of the best food I’ve ever had.” Senior Allison Tompkins also traveled to New Orleans for the first time and agreed that the cuisine stood out as a highlight of her trip. “I had grits for the first time, cheese grits with shrimp on it,” Tompkins said. “The rice and beans was to die for… I didn’t taste anything that wasn’t good.” Tompkins described touring the French Quarter and learning about the history of various parades and the groups, called krewes, which plan them. “I had heard about the pretty buildings, you know, in the French Quarter and everything, but honestly I didn’t know what to expect,” Tompkins said. “It really shocked me how beautiful it was with all the different areas and the Mississippi River and everything.” Notre Dame Food Services general manager Marc Poklinkowski said students staying at Notre Dame for the festivities will be able to experience themed décor and menu items at both dining halls on Tuesday. “South will have our Cajun-themed dishes on both homestyle and Pan-Am,” Poklinkowski said. “The popularity of this meal has increased tremendously over the years, so we found the need to take the regular Pan-Am items off for this day to offer students another area to get the themed menu items they are looking for.” Poklinkowski added North Dining Hall will be offering jambalaya and Mississippi fried catfish as well as chocolate rum cake and mini éclairs and that South Dining Hall will feature jambalaya as well with blackened catfish. “Our dessert bar [at South] will be a make-your-own-dessert featuring pound cakes, fresh strawberries, apples and caramel sauce, hot chocolate fudge and whipped topping,” Poklinkowski said. Although Mardi Gras known for its celebration of excess, Asuncion and Charnesky said traveling to New Orleans can be done even on a tight budget. Charnesky noted that driving and staying with a friend in New Orleans helped cut expenses. “You can definitely do it for under $500,” Charnesky said. “It’s not cheap, but if you’re just conscious about stuff you can do it on a budget. “It’s a great time and it’s going to be something you’ll always remember.” Contact Lesley Stevenson at lsteven1@nd.edulast_img read more

The Volcano is overdue to rumble

first_img Since you’re here… To say English supporters are growing impatient is an understatement. In January they were advised that an extraordinary force of nature was heading their way. Lesley Vainikolo – aka The Volcano – had the sort of try-scoring record in rugby league which eclipsed even Jason Robinson’s. And what happens? Nothing. The only measurable eruptions have been from people angrily demanding why the braided one is still in the team.It is not entirely his fault. Family tragedy has stalked the Tongan-born winger this winter and from the outset there was a sense he had been chosen for England prematurely. His wife is expecting a child later this month and, if it is a boy, he will be named Kava after his recently deceased brother. His father, Solomone, died without witnessing his son’s union Test debut. With so much off-field emotion swirling around, it is hardly surprising Vainikolo has found the transition from league harder than he imagined. Shares00 Fri 14 Mar 2008 20.03 EDT First published on Fri 14 Mar 2008 20.03 EDT Robert Kitson Six Nations Share via Email Reuse this content Share on Facebook Sign up to the Breakdown for the latest rugby union news Share on Twitter Already he is discovering the hard way that life as an England wing is no guarantee of full-time work. His new team have played four games in this Six Nations championship and, to date, have scored five tries. They managed only one in the knockout stages of the World Cup, a fortuitous effort by Josh Lewsey early in their semi-final against France. They are sobering figures – six tries in England’s last seven matches. They have leaked only five but you do not win titles without a semblance of a cutting edge.Against Scotland even Vainikolo seemed to be losing heart, dropping ball after ball. Each time he scores, apparently, he kisses the tip of the ball in praise of the Lord. But how could anyone at Twickenham know that? All they have seen so far is an admittedly strong man who does not yet seem to possess the intuitive union nous to understand how and where to give his shadows the slip.His team-mates are equally culpable: slow ball and lateral running would cramp even the electric Bryan Habana’s style. It is like buying a combine harvester and declining to put any fuel in the tank. For Bradford Bulls, Vainikolo scored 149 tries in 152 appearances and collected 14 in 12 international appearances for New Zealand’s rugby league team. For Gloucester, after five tries on his first outing against bottom-placed Leeds Carnegie, he has managed four in 10 starts and none in four games for England. James Simpson-Daniel, Mark Cueto, Tom Varndell, Richard Haughton and poor old Lewsey are all top-class alternatives.With his deep Frank Bruno-style chuckle and endearing nature, it is impossible not to wish Vainikolo an upturn in fortune. On the other hand, the more he struggles with rolling balls dropped in behind him – his kicking game is not a notable strength – the more mercilessly opponents will probe that particular chink in his armour. Apart from the cute offload which set up Toby Flood for a try against Wales, his hands have not been more reliable. Comparisons with Wendell Sailor may soon be made. Sailor was a larger-than-life legend in league – 110 tries in 189 matches for the Brisbane Broncos – but hardly set the bush alight as a Wallaby. His 13 tries in 37 Tests were a mediocre return considering the hype which preceded his cross-code switch.And England cannot afford to wait indefinitely for the blue touchpaper to be ignited. “Normally I score in every game in Test matches,” said Vainikolo this week. At 6ft 2in and 17st 5lb it is no small feat to have been so anonymous. This has been a championship illuminated by quicksilver wings like Shane Williams and Vincent Clerc. For his own sake, and England’s, the Volcano must start rumbling soon. Sport … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Pinterest Six Nations rugby 2008 Sport Read more Rugby union Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook The Volcano is overdue to rumble Share on Messenger Topics Share via Email Share on WhatsApp Share on Twitter Support The Guardianlast_img read more