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Who Takes a Study Break on Fat Tuesday?

College students in New Orleans are 19x LESS LIKELY to be studying during Mardi Gras compared to all others

With Fat Tuesday coming on March 5th, we wondered: Do college students across Louisiana have a hard time concentrating during Mardi Gras? How do they compare to students at schools inside New Orleans? And what about students at schools across the country … are they even aware it’s Fat Tuesday?

  • Study traffic at schools in Louisiana crashed 51% on Fat Tuesday compared to 3% nationwide.
  • The schools least likely to be studying (and most likely to be partying?) were Southern University at New Orleans (-70% drop), University of Louisiana at Lafayette (-69% drop) and Louisiana State University (-66% drop).
  • The Louisiana State University at Shreveport bucked the trend, dropping only 12%.
  • Tulane University showed the fastest bounce-back rate: it dropped 44% on Fat Tuesday, but rebounded 120% from its Mardi Gras average within 24 hours (other schools took a lot longer to recover).

To get the data-goods, we looked at student traffic to Course Hero on the Tuesday before Mardi Gras in 2018 and compared it to Fat Tuesday, which landed on February 13, 2018. We examined college-level study sessions, as well as regional and national data to understand exactly who is partying … and who is abstaining. (See the full methodology at the end of this blog post.)

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Do New Orleans schools party harder?

Are schools close to Bourbon Street any different than those in other parts of the state? Schools in New Orleans on average dropped 53%, while the Louisiana average (not counting New Orleans schools) dropped 51%—not a big difference. The reason? Only two schools in the top 10 schools ranked by traffic crashes were inside the city of New Orleans—Southern University at New Orleans (-70% drop) and University of New Orleans (-50%).

What school rebounded the fastest after letting the good times roll? Tulane. While Tulane University dropped 44% on Fat Tuesday, it bounced back quickly the day after, resuming visits to the Course Hero site at 120% the rate observed during Mardi Gras … even while its neighbor schools were still showing unusually low visit rates 24 hours and 48 hours after Fat Tuesday. (To be fair, some schools in New Orleans—aka NOLA—schedule Spring Break around Mardi Gras … so no judgment!) 

All of Louisiana lets the good times roll

We know from the data that Mardi Gras is not just a New Orleans-focused carnival—it’s a party across the state. Nearly every school we looked at in Louisiana showed a drop in study traffic, and nearly all showed significant, double-digit drops. And we have to give it to public universities: When we ranked all the schools by the drop-off in traffic, the top 10 spots were occupied by public universities across the state.

Studying on Fat Tuesday? Not in NOLA



Fat Tuesday Traffic Drop*
National Average -3%
Louisiana Average -51%
NOLA Average -53%
Biggest Single-School Drop in Louisiana (Southern Univ at New Orleans) -70%
Smallest Single-School Drop in Louisiana (Louisiana State Univ, Shreveport) -12%

*Compares February 6 and February 13, 2018, user sessions on Course Hero.

Not surprisingly, Louisiana schools party a lot more on Fat Tuesday than other schools around the country. The national average for the Tuesday-to-Tuesday traffic drops was only -3% across a random sample of colleges and universities using Course Hero in 2018. (The Tuesday-to-Tuesday drop is the drop in traffic observed between two consecutive Tuesdays in 2018, the latter of which was Fat Tuesday.) Among the colleges we studied outside of Louisiana, University of California, Los Angeles, was among the schools that take Fat Tuesday most seriously. UCLA students drove a 13% drop in traffic on that day in 2018.

Below find the full list of the Louisiana schools examined by Course Hero and the traffic drop associated with each one. Also find Course Hero’s methodology for this study.

Colleges and universities in Louisiana ranked by size of traffic drop on Fat Tuesday

Rank College/University Fat Tuesday Traffic Drop*
1 Southern Univ at New Orleans -69.6%
2 Univ of Louisiana, Lafayette -69.0%
3 Louisiana State University -66.2%
4 Southeastern Louisiana Univ -65.5%
5 Nicholls State Univ -62.3%
6 Univ of Louisiana, Monroe -59.8%
7 Louisiana Tech University -55.4%
8 Northwestern State Univ -52.4%
9 Louisiana State Univ, Alexandria -50.9%
10 Univ of New Orleans -50.0%
11 Grambling State University -50.0%
12 Delgado Community College -49.4%
13 Baton Rouge Community College -48.1%
14 McNeese State University -43.9%
15 Tulane University -43.7%
16 Southern Univ and A&M College -37.7%
17 Bossier Parish Community College -35.9%
18 Louisiana State Univ, Shreveport -11.8%
National Average -3%
Louisiana Average -51%
NOLA Average -53%

*Compares number of user sessions on Course Hero: February 6 vs February 13, 2018.


Research compares students’ study sessions on Course Hero for users in Louisiana on two consecutive Tuesdays in February 2018. All traffic data was summarized by college/university; only those schools with a minimum sample size were selected (>50 study sessions per school on 2/6/18). National average based on a random sample of student study sessions at colleges and universities across the country.

For more information contact:

Grayling PR for Course Hero

[email protected]

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