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Guests enjoy culture and cuisine in 26th annual Night of Louisiana

Green lighting speckled with purple filled the windows from top to bottom. The tables were packed, the balcony was filled and the dance floor was put to good use.

The scene was set for a celebration of Louisiana culture.

The 26th annual "Night of Louisiana" took place Saturday night at the John G. Kulhavi Events Center Atrium.

Misheaila Neil, director of University Events, said the Cajun feel to the event is especially good in the middle of winter.

Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys and Corey Ledet & his Zydeco Band performed representing cajun and creole french culture.

The event was held in Finch Fieldhouse in previous years but the transition to the John G. Kulhavi Events Center was more ideal because it requires less set up than Finch and provides the same Bourbon Street feel, said Keith Voeks, assistant director of University Events.

Night of Louisiana also coincided with Sibling's Weekend, which held events at Finch.

The new location featured the opportunity to walk to the adjacent event sponsor Courtyard Mount Pleasant at Central Michigan University, Neil said.

The event was also sponsored by CMU Public Broadcasting and the Wheatland Music Organization.

The dinner consisted of po' boys, which are sandwiches consisting of meat and seafood, and gumbo.  

Fenton graduate student Megan Piacentini came to the event to try the food with her boyfriend. She said she visited New Orleans previously and it was nice to experience the food, music and culture again. She also tried a "Hurricane", a popular alcoholic beverage in New Orleans, that was served at the event.

Several dancers wore masks and other disguises, which business professor Jim Scott said is traditional for Mardi Gras.  Scott was dressed in a green frog costume complete with a red bow tie. He said he chose the outfit so he could claim to be an escaped frog from the Rayne, Louisiana Frog Festival — an event featuring frog racing and jumping, music and other activities.  

Neil said she was happy with the turnout of the event, which amounted to hundreds of people.  

"It shows what a great community we have," she said.