By Chardonnae Parker / Managing Editor

With reporting by Jacob Cooper

Missouri Valley College’s fine arts department held a Mardi Gras cookout and dinner at the Ferguson center on February 16, but with a twist. The Mardi Gras murder mystery gave a few people a chance to live within the Mardi Gras culture and the detective lifestyle.

The fine arts department held its second murder mystery dinner to help raise money for students who are wanting to participate in a trip to Scotland in August. Theater professor Harold Hynick said the fine arts department already held a murder mystery themed dinner back in August, and that helped come up with the idea of having a Louisiana-themed cook-off alongside the dinner.

“Murder mystery–we had done in the fall, and we had some success with that, and we wanted to do something closer to Mardi Gras,” Hynick said. “So that’s where kind of we combined Mardi Gras dinner with a murder mystery. And we thought well since we’re doing that let’s have a cook-off with some Louisiana inspired cuisine.”

The cook-off had a variety of meals including gumbo, jambalaya, king cake, rice, and Cajun pasta. The interactive dinner had volunteers act out, and even dress up, in a dinner show that was four chapters and had the audience take part, asking questions and piecing the mystery together on their own.

Not only did the dinner attract hungry students and adults, but young sleuths too. A participating sleuth, Nolan McGuire, loved the event especially the interactions between the actors and the audience.

“I could actually pick who killed him and I was right, ” McGuire.

A few students from the south said this event was a good way to remind them of their culture; especially the food.

After the final act, the audience had a chance to win a raffle if they guessed the right culprit, by putting a ticket in the character’s cup. If they won, they got the choice at whatever item was on the table.

After the raffle, guests were invited to eat more food and mingle before leaving. Now the only other mystery to solve is what was in that gumbo that made it taste so good.

Missouri Valley’s fine arts department are planning on hosting another mystery themed dinner this year. That date has not yet been announced.