Mardi Gras in Cajun Country

Mardi Gras in Cajun Country can mean different things depending on which area you are referring. From traditional parades most common with city celebrations to the traditional courir located in rural areas, Mardi Gras in Cajun Country has a rich history that is distinctively unique and rooted in tradition.

Mardi Gras celebrations in both the city and country contain the traditions of a procession, ritual disguise, role-playing and ceremonial begging that came to Louisiana when France began to develop its colony in 1699. French Canadian explorer Pierre le Monye, Sieur de Iberville was exploring the Mississippi River when he and his men camped on a bend of the river 60 miles south of New Orleans on March 3. Knowing Mardi Gras was being celebrated back in France, Pierre decided to christen the site Pointe du Mardi Gras. This location has remained a Mardi Gras symbol for more than 300 years and is now commemorated with a plaque at the site.

The first formal Mardi Gras balls and parades now associated with the city celebrations of Lafayette dates back to 1869. The first Mardi Gras king and organized parade was held in Lafayette in 1897. Formal Mardi Gras balls and parades after 1897 seemed to come and go until 1934 when the Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras Association was created. Modern day city Mardi Gras celebrations have evolved, but the customs and the rituals are still intact. The procession has taken the form of colorful Mardi Gras floats carrying disguised members of local krewes that throw beads, doubloons and other trinkets to people begging, “Throw me something mister,” along the parade route. The city celebrations of Lafayette tend to be more approachable and family friendly than its rural counter parts.

In the country celebrations, or Courir de Mardi Gras, the original traditions are still integral, but are different from the city celebrations. The procession is made up of masked revelers in costume that are herded from house to house by the capitaine begging for ingredients to make a large gumbo for the community. Le Capitaine is a caped but unmasked captain that stops his revelers at a distance while he approaches homes in the community with a white flag and asks permission for his riders to enter the property. If permission is granted, the captain lowers his white flag and the riders charge towards the house. There, they dismount and proceed to dance and sing for live chickens and other donations such as rice, onions and flour to be used in the gumbo. The day's festivities usually end with a fais-do-do and lots of gumbo for Mardi Gras revelers.

While both the city and country celebrations are deeply rooted in tradition, the form these take is what makes Mardi Gras in Cajun Country distinctively unique. For a complete list of Mardi Gras events taking place in Lafayette and the surrounding areas see below, visit Lafayette.Travel or call (337) 232-3737 for more information.

Mardi Gras 2014 Schedule
February 28 – March 4, 2014

FEBRUARY 14
Krewe des Chiens - People Ball
City Club at River Ranch, Lafayette
7 – 11 p.m.  paradefordogs.com

FEBRUARY 21
Krewe of Andalusia Mardi Gras Parade
Historic Downtown, 102 W Main St, New Iberia  6:30 p.m.  337-367-6466

FEBRUARY 22
Krewe des Chiens Parade for Dogs
Downtown, Lafayette 
2 p.m.  paradefordogs.com

Krewe of Carnivale en Rio Mardi Gras Parade
Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette  
6:30 p.m.  riolafayette.com

Carencro Mardi Gras Parade
Starts at Carencro High. Ends by Carencro Community Center 
11 a.m  carencro.org

Rotary Club Mardi Gras Ball
Cade Community Center, St. Martinville 
7 p.m. stmartinville.org

Lake Arthur Mardi Gras Parade
Lake Arthur  2 p.m.  337-774-3675

FEBRUARY 23
Courir de Mardi Gras - Old-Fashion Mardi Gras Run
Vermilionville, 300 Fisher Rd., Lafayette  Vermilionville.org

Scott Mardi Gras Parade
City of Scott Louisiana  1 p.m. 
337-269-5155  cityofscott.org

Krewe of Ezana Jeanerette Mardi Gras Parade
Canal, MLK & Main St, Jeanerette 1 p.m. 
337-365-1540

FEBRUARY 28
Kick Off Parade
Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette  6:30 p.m. 
gomardigras.com

Le Festival de Mardi Gras a Lafayette
Cajun Field, Lafayette  gomardigras.com

FEBRUARY 28 – MARCH 4
Le Festival de Mardi Gras à Lafayette
Live music, carnival midway, local food and parade viewing.Band line-up includes: Geno Delafose, Frank Foster, Chee Weez, Corey Ledet, Molly Ringwalds, Ray Boudreaux, Wayne Toups, Lafayette’s Bayou Boys, Gregg Martinez and more. Cajun Field, Lafayette gomardigras.com

Cajun Country Mardi Gras
Downtown Eunice - 2nd Street area  337-948-8004

MARCH 1 - 2
Courir de Mardi Gras
Saddle Tramp Club House, Downtown Church Point 
churchpointmardigras.com  877-783-2109

MARCH 1
Krewe of Bonaparte Mardi Gras Parade
Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette  6:30 p.m. gomardigras.com

Children's Parade
Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette  12:30 p.m. gomardigras.com

Annual Cornucopia Ball
121 S. New Market, St. Martinville  7 p.m.
337-789-3592

Lake Fausse Pointe Mardi Gras Parade
Lake Fausse Pointe State Park, 5400 Levee Rd, St. Martinville  lastateparks.com

Youngsville Mardi Gras Parade
Public Works building to Fountain View, Youngsville  337-856-4181

Mardi Gras Street Dance
Downtown, Eunice  eunice-la.com

Jennings Mardi Gras Festival & Parade
Founder's Park, Main St., Jennings  cityofjennings.com/events  337-821-5531

MARCH 2
Old Time Boucherie
Eunice City Hall  10 a.m. eunice-la.com

Newcomers Mardi Gras Parade
Main Street, St. Martinville  1 p.m.
337-380-6031

Eunice “Little Mardi Gras” (ages 0-16)
Recreation Complex on Sittig Rd., Eunice 
9 a.m.  eunice-la.com

MARCH 2 – 4
Carnival D'Acadie (Mardi Gras)
Downtown, Crowley  337-7836-0824  crowley-la.com

MARCH 3
Queen's Evangeline’s Parade
Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette  6 p.m. gomardigras.com

Lundi Gras at the Village
Le Vieux Village, 828 E. Landry St.,  Opelousas  cityofopelousas.com

Opelousas Lundi Gras Celebration
Opelousas Civic Center, 1638 Creswell Ln., Opelousas  5:30 - 8 p.m.  
337-948-6263  cityofopelousas.com

MARCH 4
Mardi Gras Show at Clark Field
Clark Field Stadium, Lafayette  10 a.m. – 8 p.m. mardigrasshow.com

King's Court
Costume contest at 9 a.m. Bands and parade viewing throughout the day. Parc Sans Souci, 201 E. Vermilion St., Lafayette  8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. downtownlafayette.org

Lafayette Mardi Gras Festival Parade
Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette  1 p.m. gomardigras.com

King's Gabriel’s Parade
Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette  10 a.m. gomardigras.com

KADN Fox 15 Independent Parade
Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette  2 p.m.  gomardigras.com

Southwest Mardi Gras Association Pageant & Ball
Heymann Performing Arts Center and Convention Center, Lafayette 
8 p.m.  337-291-5540

Grand Marais Mardi Gras Parade
Hwy 90 E. at College Road, Jeanerette  337-365-8185

Krewe of Coteau Mardi Gras Parade
Francis Romero Memorial Park & LA 88, Coteau  337-577-5099

Family Affair Mardi Gras Parade
Main St, Loreauville  337-229-6001

27thTee Mamou-Iota Mardi Gras Folklife Festival
Downtown, Iota  877-783-2109  iotamardigras.com

Krewe Chic-A-La-Pie Mardi Gras Parade
Downtown, Kaplan  337-898-6600

Half Fast Krewe of Frank’s Mardi Gras Parade
E Landry & Bellevue Streets, Opelousas 
337-351-6943  cajuntravel.com

Eunice Courir de Mardi Gras
National Guard Armory & Downtown, Eunice  eunice-la.com

Opelousas Downtown Mardi Gras Celebration
Downtown, Opelousas  cityofopelousas.com

Mamou Mardi Gras
Downtown, Mamou  337-468-3105

Old Fashioned Fais-do-do Barn Dance
Lakeview Park & Beach, Eunice
337-457-2881  lvpark.com

 

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The Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission is marketing organization created in 1974 to promote Lafayette Parish as a destination for visitors, meetings, conventions, tours and sporting events. LCVC is funded primarily by a four percent occupancy tax paid by visitors to Lafayette Parish. In 2008, LCVC was the first tourist commission in Louisiana to be awarded accreditation from the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program.

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