Mardi Gras Archive: Final update of this page completed in 2009.
Click here to download an MP3 file of the Basile Mardi Gras Song.
The small town of Basile, a few miles west of Eunice, population about 1,800, is home to a Mardi Gras celebration that goes back as far as anyone can remember. According to Carl Lindahl and Carolyn Ware in their book Cajun Mardi Gras Masks, the Basile celebration was suspended during World War II and then revived in the 1960s. Since the early 1980s, the run has included both men and women. The Mardi Gras are transported in trailers and trucks around the town. The president of the Basile Mardi Gras Association is Potic Rider.
Carolyn Ware's book Cajun Women and Mardi Gras: Reading the Rules Backward (University of Illinois Press, 2007), which focuses on the Tee-Mamou and Basile women, has a lot of information about the Basile Mardi Gras.
|The Mardi Gras gather in the barn at the Town Park, singing the Basile Mardi Gras song.||Gilbert LeBlanc, at left, the oldest participant in the run, and other runners get ready to leave the park. (LeBlanc, a past captain and assistant captain, died July 18, 2008, at age 86.|
has a children's run that begins at 9 a.m. the Sunday before Mardi Gras at
the Town Park Barn (the Pig Barn: it's near the water tower). The run
returns to the barn about noon. The adult run starts at the barn on Mardi
Gras Day about 7 a.m. It concludes about 2 p.m. The Mardi Gras then parade
down Main Street at 3 p.m. where a street dance is already under way.
|Basile Mardi Gras are renowned as accomplished beggars. If you come to Basile, be sure to bring plenty of nickels--"cinq sous"--to appease the determined Mardi Gras, who will approach you pointing insistently to an open palm in a traditional begging gesture. If that doesn't work, a Mardi Gras may tug at your clothes (and even dig into your pockets). Co-capitaines will try to subdue the Mardi Gras with whips, but you'd best have something to offer. Mardi Gras will even stop cars to beg for change. The money collected helps pay for the evening gumbo. The Mardi Gras, of course, also chase chickens and engage in other antics.|
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Updated January 2000