Faculty goes from OCELTS to Muses


Jennifer Jeanfreau (right) and friend at a previous Mardi Gras. Both ready to ride in Muses wearing colorful wigs and smiles.

Lily Cummings

With Mardi Gras right around the corner, students aren’t the only ones looking forward to the holiday.

Jennifer Jeanfreau, director of the office of community engaged learning, teaching and scholarship, is one of several Loyola faculty members who ride in a Mardi Gras parade.

Jeanfreau has been riding in Muses since 2005. As a New Orleans native she grew up riding in day parades from the age of two. When she was in graduate school an offer was extended for her to ride with the fairly new krewe that began in 2000. Today, Jeanfreau is one of the lieutenants of her float, meaning she is in charge of the 45 business women on her float.

“One of the nicest things about the krewe,” Jeanfreau said, “is that it is women of all ages, races and careers and we all come together and have a great time.”

Not only does she work at Loyola full-time, but Jeanfreau said the preparation for the parade is year round. Soon after Mardi Gras passes, the krewe will begin discussing the theme for next season and designing floats. Throughout the year they host events and choose charities to fundraise for as well.

“It’s a lot of prep, but it’s fun prep,” Jeanfreau said.

Muses is known for the iconic shoes they throw each year, however, Jeanfreau said she spends about 8 hours creating each unique shoe. There are many stages of the shoe decorating process she said.

“If you get a shoe you should be thrilled and treasure it,” she said.

When asked to describe the show of Muses, Jeanfreau said you can feel the excitement in the air. Muses tries to have the best marching bands and troops so that it truly is something to see and people want to come out she said. From her perspective she sees the tremendous crowds, screaming with excitement of what they might catch.

“For the people on the float, it’s like being a rockstar,” Jeanfreau said.

Just as our Jesuit values encourage us to be with and for others, Jeanfreau exhibits this value serving as lieutenant. Jeanfreau takes riding in the parade very seriously she said, noting that it’s a totally different experience on the ground than on a float. Putting on a show, free of charge, and making sure both the crowds and the women on her float have a great time is important to her Jeanfreau said.

“That’s really what Carnaval is about,” she said, “To take a break and enjoy all the rich traditions of Mardi Gras.”