So Much To Do, So Little Time

It’s a funny thing wanting to keep one’s private life private while sharing bits and pieces of it with the website. I’ll probably leave some obvious hints of where I’ll most likely be or not be. Since Mardi Gras is also so well advertised on the Net I don’t feel like I’m altering history any by mentioning a cool place to go. Traditions evolve along with tunes and lyrics, and I value the old-style Mardi Gras as experienced out in the countryside.

My biggest fear is that the traditional country Cajun Mardi Gras, a living tradition passed on annually through the generations…will gradually morph itself from it’s back porch screen door roots to a Las Vegas mail order version including the whole Carnivale Rio scene, beads thrown towards flashed cleavage, and the Spring Break crowd. Rio Schmio, I say. Having said that, I seek the real thing, Baby, not the Casino Bus Tour.

I write you now a full week before the big Mardi Gras Weekend. There must be a title for this weekend, ‘cuz things are building up. Lest we forget…”Mardi” is French for Tuesday, “Gras” Cajun/French for Fat. So this year it officially falls February 28th. And the day before is called, Lundi Gras, or Fat Monday. This day and the day before that, and the day before that, and the day before that, are full of music and events and revelry as near as I can tell.

There are what I call Krewe Parades all over with various themes (including the newest Krewe de Rio, a-hem), resembling what you’d see out of New Orleans, I guess. I’m not an expert on the history of Krewe parades, but they do seem to share the same mockery of the rich and nobility inherent in all Mardi Gras traditions. Oddly enough, my friends at work say it is only the rich who can afford the costumery and be elected to the royalty in the Krewe. I guess we’d need an anthropologist or sociologist or some kind of gist to explain how krewes came to be. From what I gather the parades are float and car parades with lots of campy feather headdresses (not unlike Las Vegas showgirls), royalty capes and glistening beads. Lafayette has one goin’ on this weekend. I’m heading out of town.

So in trying to be here now, I’ve decided to succumb to the lure of the Mardi Gras courir that for some reason is being run today out in Egan, near Crowley. Those Pine Leaf Boys are playing for the Mardi Gras dance in Egan tonight at the Knights of Columbus and I like the idea of it way out there. And a week before Mardi Gras. A totally awesome band and a dance full of traditional Mardi Gras (dudes in the home-made fringe, screen masks and capuchon.) I’ll try to remember my camera. It starts early and will not break my budget at $3.00.

But not only that, the Liberty Theatre is rocking today. So before the dance, you can catch great Zydeco with Corey Ledet. If that’s not enough, Bon Soir Catin (Christine Balfa and friends) share the bill. Can’t be there in person? Y’all can listen to that live broadcast every Saturday on-line at The Rendez-vous des Cajuns Show is brought to you live every Saturday, 6:00 Central Time through Radio Acadie Public Radio KRVS. Check out the upcoming schedule at (Next Saturday is the Mardi Gras show with Wilson Savoy and The Pine Leaf Boys).

Okay. Here’s a hint. Looking for a real down home Mardi Gras then Tee-Mamou is the E-ticket. Check out Events all day, arts, crafts, music, jams, courir. I’m aiming for Rosie Ledet at 11:00. Not to be confused with Grand Mamou, not to say that’s not real down home and worth the trip. You can read all about the big Mamou and other 2006 Mardi Gras schedules at www.lsue/acadgate/schedule.htm

Mardi Gras itself officially ends at midnight, with the start of Lent. Being a predominantly Catholic culture, the schools and many businesses take an extra day off on Ash Wednesday. This is convenient for those who need to recover from the revelry. Since the Catholic tradition of fasting is included in Lenten practices…you have to fatten yourself up before you do your 40 days. I guess that’s all part of the King Cake story. Compris?