By Alysse Schultheis
Photo by Chris Murphree
Dressed to impress, students arrived at Bourbon Street (also known as the Social Lodge) Friday, February 13 to collect clues, accuse friends, and eat scrumptious gumbo and king cake. With many characters to choose from, students entered the world of a scheming Mardi Gras float Krewe who all have motives to kill, but only one is guilty.
Set at a dinner party in the Mardi Gras Queen’s house, played by Sallie Carter (C’16), everyone receives their first envelope filled with conversation topics, background story, and suspicious evidence. Everybody soon begins laughing and subtly sharing information, while casting doubting eyes at anyone who behaves questionably, wondering to themselves, could they be capable of murder? The dinner conversation soon slows down as the gumbo disappears from everyone’s plates and the first round of secrets are out of the bag.
This would not be a Mardi Gras party without some dancing, so of course the next event involves a dance off! Everyone is given a different dance to showcase and some smooth New Orleans Jazz makes Bourbon Street come alive. Toussaint Le Breton, played by Kiela Crabtree (C’15), challenges everyone with a spot-on Robot, but the Mardi Gras King, played by CarolAnne Poyman (C’16), comes in a close second with 70’s Disco. This is, of course, a murder mystery, so while everyone danced, someone got stabbed in the back! The dance party provided the perfect cover for a heinous act to occur, and all heads turned toward the door as Poyman walked in with a sign hanging around her neck, declaring her murdered, and a knife taped to her back. The mood in the room quickly deteriorated.
Everyone sat down to indulge in king cake and summon smiles, while silently contemplating, who had a motive to murder the Mardi Gras King? Supplied with a second round of envelopes filled with clues, the dinner party guests began scribbling down everything they heard, attempting to puzzle out the murderer among them. Poyman particularly enjoyed this part, commenting, “I had so much fun—the fancy clothes, the delicious king cake. Plus, I was the one who died, so I had the perfect excuse to ignore everyone and eat cake while they argued, quite vehemently, over who did it.” Everyone soon came to a conclusion on who the murderer was and submitted their guesses. The prime suspect was Jeanne Trudeau, played by Victoria Paff (C’18), the longtime sweetheart of the Mardi Gras King who had recently broken up with him and was seen storming away angrily. Paff even accused herself of the murder, believing that she was the person with the best motive. However, after every guest went around the table reading their story and declaring themselves innocent, the last person passionately declared themselves the murderer. Who was this deviant schemer?
The culprit was Sebastienne Thibodeaux, played by Alysse Schultheis (C’16), the owner of the Bourbon Street “Cajun Cavern” who was furious with the Mardi Gras King for raising the price of shellfish, effectively driving Sebastienne out of business. The murderer revealed, everyone laughed at the outcome and made sure to load up on Mardi Gras beads before leaving Bourbon Street and returning to the calm, murder-free Sewanee campus. This entertaining night of fun and mystery was funded by Students Positively Organized Together (SPOT), and Chris Murphree (C’16) put together the event. “SPOT is planning more events in the future, including a salsa dance party, a trip to Chattanooga, a soccer match, and professional massages,” said Simey Emerson (C’16). Emails will be sent out before each event to sign up, so make sure you reserve your spot before they are all filled! If you are not on the emailing list, let either Geanina Fripp (C’16) or Nicole Fischer (C’16) know.