Running the roads on Mardi Gras: Tee Mamou Iota - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Running the roads on Mardi Gras: Tee Mamou Iota

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A masked reveler hoots and hollers, as you might expect from an animal in distress.

It's the unmistakable sound of Mardi Gras in the back country of South Louisiana.

What's a little cold and ice? Cancel the Mardi Gras run? Are you kidding? It's too much of a tradition.

Whether it's ice, snow, tornados, rain, sunshine. The run will continue.

Roonie Fruge belongs to the family that began the tradition long ago. The revelers will stop at his house.

"They'll beg a little bit for ingredients for their gumbo, and they'll probably chase a chicken or two. And they will probably fall and enjoy it," explained Fruge as we wait for the troupe.

And sure enough, they fulfilled all expectations once they get to Roonie's place from the hoopin' an hollerin', singing of traditional Mardi Gras songs and music and dancing.

And of course, their practical jokes...whether trying to scare visiting media, steal a dance, steal the reporter's hat or even her camera. All as the Krewe Captain tries to keep them in line.

And then they're off to the next stop along the road to a Happy Mardi Gras.

Even though the old fashioned revelers were going strong, the Tee Mamou Iota Mardi Gras Folklife Festival was cancelled. It's the first time in 27 years and that's a blow to folks there who work so hard on it every year.

They usually get a crowd of at least 12,000, according to festival president Joel Cart. He said their first priority must be the safety of festival goers.

"The only reason canceled is the safety of our clientele and the safety of the people who were going to get on the roads," Cart said. "The state police said it's very dangerous and as you can see our band stand is iced over, it's very dangerous getting up."

Many nonprofit groups in the area sell Cajun foods and treats during the annual festivial to raise money. Cart said maybe they'll have an after Easter Mardi Gras or something. 

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