Clohan Dining Hall saw more than 500 students tonight in the first hour of their Mardi Gras-themed event. 

The menu featured crawfish, crab cakes, shrimp and grits, frog legs, catfish and — the students' favorite — an ice cream bar. 

While walking in, guests heard music playing from a live band, the Second Line Stompers. Band members told Elon News Network they were paid a total of $600 for the gig.

The money for the event comes from Elon Dining’s marketing budget. 

“We couldn’t do it every day,” said Krystal Neal, director of Clohan Dining Hall. 

Students, faculty and staff all joined together in Clohan Hall for the event. Elon Dining Services paid for Elon Dining employees' meals. 

Michelle Helms attended the event with her husband, a former Elon dining employee. He also attended the event for free. 

“The food has definitely come up quite a few steps since I have been in college,” Helms said. 

On a regular night in Clohan, Elon Dining selects food items from a national menu with allergy warnings. Tonight, they had the option of pulling away from that menu. 

A dietician on staff was available in case students had any allergies in need of special attention because of the change in the menu. Before the event, Laura Thompson, resident district manager, told Elon News Network each server was educated on the ingredients of the food they were serving. 

With Mardi Gras being Tuesday, Feb. 13, some students were unhappy about this event taking place a week before the actual day.  

“I don’t get it. The event is not actually on Mardi Gras,” said junior Olivia Duffield. 

Lines for the ice cream bar went all the way down the front staircase toward the end of the night. Students were struggling to find seating and many had to take food to-go. 

“It’s too crowded for me here,” Duffield said. “I think it should have been in Lakeside. It’s not that [here] it’s too small, it’s just hard to get around.” 

But overall, most students found the night to be a fun event where they were able to try new food. 

"It was great to see Elon showcase another culture," freshman Alex Pirsos said. "I've never been to New Orleans, but the food, music and atmosphere really encompassed what I imagine it would be like." 

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