Small town Mardi Gras deeply rooted in tradition, Cajun culture
MAMOU, La. (WAFB) - What if I told you three hours west of New Orleans, they do Mardi Gras a little differently? They don’t catch beads or ride on floats. Instead they saddle up on horseback and catch chickens.
Kevin Fontenot, who has been a part of Mamou Mardi Gras for over 20 years, said, “If we do away with old traditions, people forget their past. We have had hard times. Now, we get to enjoy the good times.”
They start dancing long before the sun is up and continue long after it sets Tuesday night.
“The challenge is making it through the day. Drinking beers, riding on horseback, there is some dancing,” Fontenot explained.
In Mamou, it’s called Courir de Mardi Gras which translate to “Fat Tuesday Run.”
“It is a unique holiday that we celebrate. Anybody else in the world don’t have this Mardi Gras,” Fontenot said.
It’s Mardi Gras rooted in Cajun culture.
“It’s a melting pot of different cultures,” Fontenot added.
Seventeen hours northeast from Mamou, Jaime Miller made her way from West Virginia. She is visiting one of her best friends for the holiday.
“She described it as chickens and men running in fields. It’s more than I expected. A lot more culture and country,” Miller said.
It is her first time experiencing a traditional Mardi Gras. It’s also her first time ever in Louisiana.
“Not gonna lie, I’m a little terrified, but it is all fun and games,” Miller said.
Despite the dancing and drinking, Mardi Gras is a religious holiday. It is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.
For the folks in Mamou, once the party wraps, the attention turns to 40 days of Lent.
“Around here, you might not go to church every Sunday, but you pray every night,” Fontenot added.
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