LSUE Mardi Gras Photos:
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Mardi Gras Archive: Final update of this page completed in 2009.

Eunice hosts many Mardi Gras activities starting the Friday before Mardi Gras.
Go to the city's Official Web Site for details.

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Mardi Gras in Eunice includes a variety of events that will appeal to the whole family. The main celebration on Mardi Gras Day features a full day of activities downtown while the Eunice Mardi Gras Association's Courir is winding through the countryside. The downtown crowds can listen and dance to continuous music from two stages and eat all of the traditional Cajun foods, including the world's largest king cake. The Jean Lafitte National Park Prairie Cajun Culture Center also has special activities all day long. When the courir returns, the riders are joined by Mardi Gras floats in a parade through downtown Eunice that starts about 3 p.m.


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The parade through downtown Eunice starts about 3 p.m

  Ann Savoy (center) is shown performing in 1996.


Mardie2.jpg (14578 bytes)According to Dr. Claude Oubre of LSUE, the Eunice courir dates from when the town was first established in the late 19th century. The courir was abandoned for a few years during World War II, but in 1946 a small band of riders revived the tradition. Oubre's interview with Hillman Smith, who became capitaine in 1946, is featured in the third volume of the LSUE folklife series. Today, the Eunice Mardi Gras Association Courir has more than 1,000 participants on the run. Riders and other participants, both male and female, assemble at the Northwest Community Center and then at 8 a.m. head north and east before circling back to Eunice (for many years the route went southeast of Eunice, passing through Perchville, known as Patassa, but, as the size of the run grew, traffic congestion winding through Patassa became a safety hazard, so the run changed routes).


  The Eunice courir heads
  down Sittig Road.

  The capitaine displays a
  chicken given to the Mardi
  Gras at one of their stops
   in 1997.


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A children's courir, shown heading down LSUE Drive in 1997 toward the countryside, is held in Eunice the Sunday before Mardi Gras starting at 9 a.m. from City Hall. The children ride on flatbed trailers or in pickup trucks. .

The Old Time Boucherie. An old time Boucherie begins in front of City Hall at 10 a.m. the Sunday before Mardi Gras. Visitors can see and enjoy the products of a Cajun (and German) tradition that is still common at many family gatherings: a hog is slaughtered and then made into a variety of dishes: backbone stew, boudin, gratons (cracklings), and other delicacies. By 11:30, the first dishes are ready for tasting. Shown at right in 1997 are Linus Bertrand and Gil Young prepare a combination of spicy rice and pork dressing that they will then stuff casings to make boudin. Larry "Bubba" Frey, who makes boudin and other meat products at his store in Mowata, lifts the boudin out of a broth and puts it in a container to keep it hot until it is served. Meanwhile, the cracklings are ready to lift out of a large kettle. Click here for pictures of the 2000 boucherie.

Cake.jpg (22411 bytes)In past years, slices from the world's largest king cake were sold each year in the Eunice City Hall. That tradition has lapsed, but king cake is now widely available at grocery stores and bakeries throughout South Louisiana.

Epiphany on January 6, the day in the Christian calendar when the three kings visited the baby Jesus, marks the beginning of the carnival season. According to folklorists, the King Cake, whose origins can be traced to medieval France, used to be baked with a bean or coin inside. Whoever got the slice with the hidden token was king for a day. Today, a plastic baby, symbolizing the Christ child, is baked in many cakes, with the recipient of that slice supposedly obligated to buy the next cake. Coated with icing in the traditional Mardi Gras colors, in recent years King Cakes have become a true marketing phenomenon: bakeries in South Louisiana ship them all over the country. Various fillings are used inside the round cake.

Other Mardi Gras Events. Mardi Gras in Eunice begins on Friday night with a street dance and continues strong throughout the weekend with music from outdoor stages and dances at Nick's on 2nd.  The Liberty Theatre hosts a special Mardi Gras show at 6 p.m. Saturday. The city's official web page has a schedule of events posted several weeks before Mardi Gras.

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