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UL Lafayette Krewe de Coulee - Post Mardi Gras Clean Up

The next UL Lafayette Krewe de Coulee will be the Thursday after Mardi Gras in 2025 at the Blackham Coliseum. 

The UL Lafayette Krewe de Coulee is an annual post Mardi Gras clean-up event to promote community volunteerism to clean up litter left behind after Mardi Gras celebrations along the Lafayette Parade Route. Its vital to clean up any remaining litter before it makes it way into our storm drains, coulees, and waterways that lead directly into the Vermilion Bayou Watershed. This year you can join a UL Lafayette or Community Krewe to help clean up our community!

The most recent UL Lafayette Krewe de Coulee happened February 15th 2024 and here is how we did:

  • 170 registered volunteers
  • 40 Krewes
  • 1 Coulee Monster
  • 2 hours of service
  • 1,085 lbs of litter collected
  • 109 bags of litter collected
  • 19 sites along the parade route
  • 2.25 miles of the parade route cleaned


This year we would like to thank our Sponsors, Parish Proud and UL Dining Services! Parish Proud is a local organization that is dedicated to beautifuying spaces across Acadiana. Together, we have parntered with Lafayette Consolidated Government (LCG) and the Lemoine Company to safeguard our watershed and clean up our community following festivities! The Lemoine Company donated and strategically placed 16 Rock Wattles along Lafayette’s Mardi Gras Parade Route on UL Lafayette's campus to prevent litter and beads from entering and polluting the stormwater drain system, coulees, and the Bayou Vermilion.

We would also like to thank UL Lafayette's Dining Services for providing snacks and refreshments at the Krewe de Coulee for Volunteers!

Why the Clean-Up?

When the Mardi Gras festivities come to an end, what happens to all of the trash left behind after the parades? Discarded trash, litter, and beads from parades affect the beauty of our campus and community and can end up in our stormwater systems and waterways after heavy rains. On Thursday, February 23rd the Office of Sustainability hosted the Krewe de Coulee Post Mardi Gras Clean Up to help clean up Johnson street and keep our coulees clean! We had 30 volunteers in the Krewe de Coulee who collected 45 trashbags of litter. These volunteers were diverse members of the campus community, consisting of faculty, staff, and students from different academic disciplines.

Litter was not the only thing collected during Krewe de Coulee, data was also collected with a Litter Survey. The Litter Free Louisiana Survey app was utilized to record data during clean-up events. This program is funded by the Trash Free Gulf of Mexico Grant awarded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pre and post Mardi Gras litter surveys were completed to measure the accumulation of litter following parades on the Johnston St. Route through campus. Volunteers were educated on how to use the app before clean-up began.

Krewe de Coulee is an annual one-day, post-Mardi Gras community clean-up event, where members of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus community collected litter left behind from Mardi Gras parades that took place in the weeks prior. This event was facilitated by the UL Lafayette Office of Sustainability, as an initiative for Keep UL Lafayette Beautiful, a university affiliate of Keep Louisiana Beautiful. For the first Krewe de Coulee in 2023 with funding from the KLB University Affiliate Grant, shirts promoting Keep UL Lafayette Beautiful and Krewe de Coulee were given to all participating volunteers.

Coulee Monster

Legend has it the Coulee Monster roams around Acadiana’s storm drain system, coulees, and waterways cleaning and protecting its home from litter. Coulee Monster is an advocate of keeping litter out of the storm drain systems and subsequent waterways. Like its legendary cousin the Rougarou, the Swamp Monster of Louisiana, the Coulee Monster has also been known to occasionally pull the toes of anyone who dares to litter the watershed under its protection.

As the Acadiana area developed, populations grew in cities, and single-use disposables became more prevalent, litter began to impact our water ways and wildlife. Around the turn of the 19th century, the Coulee Monster migrated from the swamps of Louisiana into the city of Lafayette’s waterways to address the growing amount of litter and pollution.

The Coulee Monster loves Mardi Gras but loathes the amount of litter that makes its way into their home. The Coulee Monster knows that picking up all kinds of litter before it can be washed into the storm drains and coulee is vital to protecting water quality and wildlife, especially their critter friend, Pirogue the Possum. You can often spot the Coulee Monster near the coulees around the campus of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and at Krewe de Coulee.

2023 UL Lafayette Krewe de Coulee Recap:

Impact of Litter:

  • Litter poses a threat to wildlife and provides breeding ground for insects and rodents.
  • Litter on our roads and highways can lead to accidents and pose a threat to our lives.
  • Litter can be composed of flammable materials that could easily start or spread a fire.
  • Litter can lead to soil, water, and air pollution.
  • Litter is an eyesore - litter breeds more litter.
  • Litter is a breeding ground for bacteria and diseases that can be spread by direct and indirect contact.
  • Litter clean ups can be costly and can potentially lower property values.
  • Litter that makes it way into storm drains can cause flooding.
  • Litter that enters our local waterways, like our two coulees (Coulee Mine Branch and St. John Coulee), will end up in our rivers and eventually our oceans if we don’t stop it at the source.
  • While litter can often seem like a small thing, the impact of it is huge on our community and all of its residents! If you see trash on the ground you can pick it up and become an environmental steward to our campus and community. 

Krewe de Coulee Timeline 

Before the event

A pre-event clean-up of Johnston St., from University Avenue to Cajundome Boulevard was completed by three AmeriCorps students on Monday, February 13, 2023, to establish a baseline and remove any existing litter. This was a three-hour process (from 2-5 pm). These students documented 24.5 lbs. of litter collected. Each volunteer had a 15-gallon bag to collect litter along Johnston Street. Prior to this clean-up, only three large parades took place along this section of roadway.

From the time AmeriCorps volunteers conducted this pre-assessment, five large parades moved through Johnston Street, from downtown Lafayette to Cajun Field, before the organized Krewe de Coulee Post-Mardi Gras Litter Clean-Up. These parades took place from February 18-21, 2023 (including Mardi Gras Day). The Krewe de Coulee clean-up was conducted after the city streetsweepers cleaned the area once the Mardi Gras season concluded.

During the event

Thirty volunteers collected equipment (litter pickers, gloves, safety vests) and Krewe de Coulee Keep UL Lafayette Beautiful t-shirts from the Office of Sustainability to assist them with the clean-up effort.
Total duration of the Krewe de Coulee clean-up was 2 hours (from 3-5 pm). Volunteers were divided into teams of three to four volunteers, and each team was responsible for clean-up in a respective zone (1-8) along the Johnston St. parade route.

After the event

A total of 45 15-gallon sized bags of litter were reported to have been collected by Krewe de Coulee volunteers. All waste collected was discarded into the nearest waste dumpster (some were further than others). Volunteers included feedback of the event via the Litter Free Louisiana Survey app and in-person when they returned equipment to the Office of Sustainability.


During completion of the Litter Free Louisiana Survey, respondents were asked “Type of Litter?” found at the site. The option most selected was “Majority of the litter collected by Krewe de Coulee volunteers were Mardi Gras beads from the parade floats that were abandoned along the route. Volunteers also observed Styrofoam ice chests, lawn chairs, barbeque equipment, tents, leftover food, broken hula-hoops and toys, and bottles and cans from alcoholic beverages littered and abandoned in the area. All survey responses stated that there were no trash or recycling bins visible near the littered beads.


  • Per the survey results, volunteers expressed that an additional 2.3 hours (averaged) would be necessary for a post-Mardi Gras clean-up.
  • It was suggested that community businesses (near campus) be made aware of the event and asked to provide water and snacks to volunteers during the event.
  • Get a trailer to follow the volunteers during the clean-up so that volunteers can easily deposit their waste in a central location without wandering to find a waste bin and carrying the bag around.
  • Close registration at least two days prior to the event to assign groups or at least designate the teams two days prior.
  • Make sure student organizations, especially Honors and Greek-letter organizations, know about the event and have time to register. These organizations usually require service hours to maintain membership.

Photos of the 2023 Krewe de Coulee




Thanks again to all the volunteers who helped with the post Mardi Gras clean up in the Krewe de Coulee! We would also like to thank Keep Louisiana Beautiful for sponsoring our T-shirts through the Univeristy Affiliate Grant.