Feb 7, 2024 - Mardi Gras

Meet the artist who came up with "Deep Gras"

A side-by-side pair of photographs. On the left, a young girl wearing a flower headband sits at the top of a parade ladder with her mother looking over her shoulder, and on the right, a woman half-smiles in a selfie with a guitar on a bench next to her.

At left, Dominique LeJeune celebrating Mardi Gras as a young girl with her mother, and on the right, posing for a selfie more recently. Photos: Courtesy of LeJeune

Dominique LeJeune was already in that hazy, weird fugue state that Mardi Gras creates when she came up with the term "Deep Gras." She tapped out an Instagram post with the term, and didn't think much more about it.

  • Until, that is, it went viral, and ended up being ripped off and duplicated across the New Orleans internet.

Why it matters: Five years on, LeJeune still laughs about it.

  • As do we.

Deep Gras, LeJeune explained in a follow-up Instagram post in 2020, begins on Nyx Wednesday and ends on Ash Wednesday, when "your entire life becomes Mardi Gras and nothing else."

  • "Your body shifts into pleasure mania," she wrote. "You see everyone you've ever met. You don't drink enough water or get enough sleep. ... This is when you cut corners on every fact of your life but you figure it out."

We caught up with LeJeune about that viral moment and what she's up to now just as — yep, you guessed it — New Orleans enters Deep Gras 2024.

Where she went to school: LeJeune grew up in Kenner, but graduated from Louise S. McGehee High School and Loyola University.

  • "My family's been around Louisiana for 300 years," she says, underscoring the irony that many people thought a transplant wrote the original Deep Gras post.

That post happened as she promoted her last WTUL radio show before Mardi Gras, a regular slot she's had every Friday from 2pm to 4pm for about a decade.

  • "I was costuming. I was exhausted from working, having rehearsals and being very committed to different Mardi Gras shenanigans, and I was in this delirium, zoned out, in my room with, costumes everywhere and strips of sequins, and I started typing what that is, almost in the vein of horoscope writing.
  • "The next day, I started noticing the notifications.

"I was just along for the ride and it's gotten goofier and funnier as time has gone on.

  • "I do joke to my friends that we're not putting anything on my headstone like 'Creator of Deep Gras.'"

But the first time she went viral was years earlier when she performed a duet on "Marilyn" with fellow Loyola artist G-Eazy.

  • "I was really stoked to do that collaboration," she says. "I wrote that when I was 17, so it was a big blessing and it brought a lot of abundance into my life and showed me the value of my work and how you can find success in just doing your thing."

The Mardi Gras tradition she won't miss: "Seeing at least one normal Uptown parade to catch the marching bands.

  • "They make me the happiest. Nothing sets me on fire like seeing the kids doing their best."

Something New Orleans doesn't have but should: "I'd personally love if we expanded and advanced our transportation.

  • "The city really, really would benefit from strong central public transportation that expands further than its current reach."

Her drink order: "Some nice white or orange wine. I've settled into my 30s, and that's kind of it.

  • "But I also do love some mezcal if my tolerance can handle it."
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