Lafayette will host the first annual Zydeco Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday March 30th, 2014
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
Krewe of Carnivale en Rio Mardi Gras Parade
Carencro Mardi Gras Parade
Rotary Club Mardi Gras Ball
Lake Arthur Mardi Gras Parade
Scott Mardi Gras Parade
Krewe of Ezana Jeanerette Mardi Gras Parade
Le Festival de Mardi Gras a Lafayette
FEBRUARY 28 – MARCH 4
Cajun Country Mardi Gras
MARCH 1 - 2
Annual Cornucopia Ball
Lake Fausse Pointe Mardi Gras Parade
Youngsville Mardi Gras Parade
Mardi Gras Street Dance
Jennings Mardi Gras Festival & Parade
Newcomers Mardi Gras Parade
Eunice “Little Mardi Gras” (ages 0-16)
MARCH 2 – 4
Lundi Gras at the Village
Opelousas Lundi Gras Celebration
Lafayette Mardi Gras Festival Parade
King's Gabriel’s Parade
KADN Fox 15 Independent Parade
Southwest Mardi Gras Association Pageant & Ball
Grand Marais Mardi Gras Parade
Krewe of Coteau Mardi Gras Parade
Family Affair Mardi Gras Parade
27thTee Mamou-Iota Mardi Gras Folklife Festival
Krewe Chic-A-La-Pie Mardi Gras Parade
Half Fast Krewe of Frank’s Mardi Gras Parade
Eunice Courir de Mardi Gras
Opelousas Downtown Mardi Gras Celebration
Mamou Mardi Gras
Old Fashioned Fais-do-do Barn Dance
About Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission
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.
The Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission (LCVC) was awarded accreditation from the Destin
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