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 des Chiens - People Ball
City Club at River Ranch, Lafayette
7 – 11 p.m.

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

Krewe des Chiens Parade for Dogs
Downtown, Lafayette 
2 p.m.

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

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

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

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

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

Scott Mardi Gras Parade
City of Scott Louisiana  1 p.m. 

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

Kick Off Parade
Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette  6:30 p.m.

Le Festival de Mardi Gras a Lafayette
Cajun Field, Lafayette

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

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  877-783-2109

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

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

Annual Cornucopia Ball
121 S. New Market, St. Martinville  7 p.m.

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

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

Mardi Gras Street Dance
Downtown, Eunice

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

Old Time Boucherie
Eunice City Hall  10 a.m.

Newcomers Mardi Gras Parade
Main Street, St. Martinville  1 p.m.

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

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

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

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

Opelousas Lundi Gras Celebration
Opelousas Civic Center, 1638 Creswell Ln., Opelousas  5:30 - 8 p.m.  

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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 

Eunice Courir de Mardi Gras
National Guard Armory & Downtown, Eunice

Opelousas Downtown Mardi Gras Celebration
Downtown, Opelousas

Mamou Mardi Gras
Downtown, Mamou  337-468-3105

Old Fashioned Fais-do-do Barn Dance
Lakeview Park & Beach, Eunice


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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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