Traditional Cajun Mardi Gras continues in Mamou
MAMOU- In Evangeline Parish, the traditional Cajun Mardi Gras is a bit different than New Orleans. Instead of riding around on floats, revelers ride from house to house on horseback in colorful homemade costumes.
"We're like the old-time Mardi Gras, that first started," said Gary Brignac, one of several captains of Mamou Mardi Gras.
Courir de Mardi Gras, which translates to Fat Tuesday run, is based on medieval Mardi Gras. Revelers chase chickens through rice fields. Participants would beg and sing and dance for homeowners to get ingredients to make gumbo.
"The captain would ask for whatever they had. Could be rice, chicken, whatever. They chase the chicken through the yard, kept the chicken, then moved on to the next house," said Brock Vidrine.
At the end of the route, the ingredients combine to form community gumbo is made and the best chicken-chaser is crowned..
"We have to keep going. It motivates people to dance," reveler Kade Zerrette, said.
This was Zerrette's fourteenth year in the courir. He says he was 16 during his first run.
"The first time was more of a shock, then you start getting into it," Zerrette said.
It's a tradition with no end in sight.
"Tradition is important. You have to keep it always going," said Kenneth Mouiler, another Mamou Mardi Gras captain.