Mardi Gras Revelers Target Loyola University Sculpture For YOLO-Inspired Vandalism

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 4 2014 4:15 PM

Mardi Gras' YOLO-Inspired Vandalism

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Members of Rex parade down St. Charles Avenue despite the rain Mardi Gras Day on March 4, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

You might only live once, but the same can't be said for the sign out front of Loyola University in Uptown New Orleans.

Local affiliate WDSU reports that school officials woke up this morning to find the first four letters of a concrete sculpture that spells Loyola on the campus' front lawn had gone missing. The school told the station that it had been a "victim of Mardi Gras"—although I suppose you could also say it was a victim of Drake. (For anyone who hasn't put it together by now, it wouldn't take a lot of effort to reorganize the stolen letters to spell YOLO.)

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If your first thought when you saw the photo above was: How the heck hasn't that happened before? The answer is: It has. Apparently a lot. "It happens during the normal times even when it's not a holiday," Meredith Hartley, the school's director of public affairs, told the Times-Picayune. A quick search of the New Orleans newpaper's archives suggests that is indeed the case. Not only has the sign suffered similar YOLO-themed damage before, Hartley told the paper last year that the sign is damaged so often—sometimes on purpose, sometimes on accident by people posing for pictures—that the university actually keeps replacement letters on hand just in case.

School officials say the letters will be back up tomorrow once the school's facilities operations team returns to work. (It probably goes without saying that by waiting until Wednesday the school ensures that most of the Mardi Gras crowd will either have headed home or will be too hungover to do much repeat vandalizing.)

One quick note about the embedded photo up top: There's a bit of forced perspective at work. If you head on over to the Times-Picayune you'll find a photo gallery that has a shot that includes a person in the frame to give you an idea of the scale we're talking about here.

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Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.