Cajun Mardi Gras

Jean Lafitte NHP – Cajun Mardi Gras

We learned a lot about Cajun culture on this trip and the origins of Mardi Gras.  these pictures were in Eunice, LA, site of the Mardi Gras Day traditional “Courir de Mardi Gras”. Costumed participants ride on horseback and on flatbeds through the countryside. 

The Eunice Courir de Mardi Gras dates back from when the town was first established in the late 19th century. This year, the Eunice Courir de Mardi Gras had more than 2000 participants.

Mardi Gras in rural Southwestern Louisiana draws on traditions that are centuries old. Revelers go from house to house begging to obtain the ingredients for a communal meal (usually GUMBO). They wear costumes that conceal their identity and that also parody the roles of those in authority. 

The “capitaine” maintains control over the Mardi Gras. He issues instructions to the riders as they assemble early in the morning and then leads them on their run. When they arrive at a farm house, he obtains permission to enter private property, after which the riders may charge toward the house, where the Mardi Gras sing, dance, and beg until the owner offers them an ingredient for a gumbo. Often, the owner will throw a live chicken into the air that the Mardi Gras will chase, like football players trying to recover a fumble.

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