Old time Mardi Gras celebrates days gone by

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA (KPLC) - For a look at how Mardi Gras was first celebrated, one can travel the back roads of rural Louisiana.

As the sun peeps over the horizon on Mardi Gras morning, depending on where you are, you can hear the whooping and hollering of revelers in places such as Iowa, Iota, Oberlin and elsewhere.

They have a Mardi Gras celebration unique to their area in Iowa, Louisiana.  It's just down the road from Lake Charles where they keep Mardi Gras tradition alive with a chicken run that for many years featured the late, great Boo Zoo Chavis.  There's plenty of music, dancing, chasin' chickens and a big gumbo and dance by the end of the night.

In Oberlin the Courier de Mardi Gras gets up with the sun.  The Mardi Gras celebration keeps alive a culture and heritage participants say is one of the last traditional Mardi Gras runs left in the state of Louisiana.  Masked revelers ride the back roads of Allen Parish making it difficult if not impossible for the uninitiated to keep up.  But the 35 mysterious men ride into town on a wagon at three in the afternoon, giving all a taste of old time Fat Tuesday.

The Tee Mamou-Iota celebration offers a traditional Mardi Gras chicken run, where parts of the customary celebration are said to date back to ancient European rituals.  The run winds through the back roads of Cajun Country and ends up in Iota where there's entertainment and dancing throughout the day on the main bandstand as well as plenty of food and souvenirs from which to choose to make it a Mardi Gras to remember.

If you know of a celebration you think we should include let us know at news@kplctv.com

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