The Ohio State University at Newark

Ohio State Newark Professor to Discuss Student Films on New Orleans Black Parading Tradition

April 6, 2021

Every Mardi Gras season, WYES in New Orleans airs two documentaries created by Ohio State Newark students. The half-hour documentaries give voice to the legendary leaders of the Mardi Gras Indian parading culture, called “big chiefs” and “big queens.” The documentaries were the result of a three-year service-learning project in which students conducted research and traveled to New Orleans to conduct interviews.

Virginia H. Cope, PhD, associate professor of English and associate dean of outreach, access and special programs at The Ohio State University at Newark, will describe students’ experiences creating the film and her research on the impact of the pandemic on the practitioners of this black parading tradition during an upcoming Faculty Talks Outside the Box.

”These men and women are important culture-bearers for the city of New Orleans, continuing a practice begun in the 19th century. Not surprisingly, even amid the pandemic, they have found ways to continue their practice while also providing support for each other in an incredibly difficult year,” said Cope.

The talk will be virtual on Tuesday, April 15 at 6 p.m. via Zoom.

Register at

If you require an accommodation to participate fully, please contact Connie Zang at Requests should be made as soon as possible but no later than April 1. Requests will be accepted beyond that date and every effort to provide a needed accommodation will be made.

View the videos
Short film on the project:
Documentaries: and

During Faculty Talks Outside the Box, Ohio State Newark professors discuss recent research in their fields as it relates to our community and answer questions. All talks are free and open to the public.

The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that is inclusive of diversity, challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State’s more than 200 majors. It’s where learning comes to life. Research, study abroad and service-learning opportunities prepare students for their careers in ways they never expected.