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Local students show off art skills for Zulu parade

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BATON ROUGE - Carnival season is here and some local high school students artwork will be showcased in one of the most popular Mardi Gras parades in the state.

Art students at McKinley High School are canvassing their work on coconuts for the Zulu parade, a historically African-American Mardi Gras parade.

They're planning to construct approximately 600 coconuts before Fat Tuesday.

Christopher Turner is the art teacher at McKinley High School and incorporated the Mardi Gras culture into his lesson plan for the second time this year. Last year, the art class made 400 coconuts.

"A lot of Zulus want the coconut to be unique within itself," said Turner.

Turner says he pursued this venture after talking with a colleague who walked in the parade last year. Turner offered for his class to make the throws for the parade.

Each coconut has the letter "M" representing the school name.

For high school senior Eric Bates and Kamai Thomas painting coconuts is a great opportunity to practice their art skills.

"You can also showcase your own talents and other people will see what you're able to do," says Bates.

"It's special coming from Louisiana and how big the Zulu culture is and it's going to always be around for years and years to come. It's a piece of history," says Thomas. 

The students aren't restricted to the type of design for the coconut. 

If you want a specialized McKinley coconut, the students say you'll have to attend the Zulu Parade in New Orleans.



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