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

Go to the official Tee Mamou-Iota Mardi Gras Page.

Iota is the site of the Tee-Mamou-Iota Mardi Gras Folklife Festival. The festival, which starts at 9 a.m. and continues until about 6 p.m., is held on the main street in Iota. Bands play Cajun and Zydeco music on a raised stage that also has an area where dance troupes perform and where, in between performances, members of the large crowd can dance to the music. Food booths sell boudin, cracklins, gumbo, sauce piquant, beignets, fried alligator, and other delicacies. Handmade crafts are also on sale, and Cajun artisans have booths. 


   The Mardi Gras surround the front of
   a rural home, begging and also
   dancing with some of the ladies.

   The Tee-Mamou wagon is shown
   just after pulling out onto Highway
   91 from the rural home on the
   way to Iota for the parade.

Iota99-3.jpg (27448 bytes)
Instead of tossing favors to the crowd
in Iota, the Mardi Gras beg for donations
as the ride into town.

Iota99-2.jpg (12907 bytes)
In 1999, the Mardi Gras are shown
dancing precariously atop the Mardi
Gras wagon while riding into Iota.
In the distance, the band on the main
stage is playing "The Mardi Gras Jig."
The highlight of the festival is the arrival of the Tee-Mamou Courir. Tee-Mamou (i.e., Petit Mamou) is a small town about five miles west of Iota and 25 miles southwest of Mamou (also known as Grand Mamou or Big Mamou). Until his death the Sunday before Mardi Gras in 1998, Gerald Frugé was the long-time capitaine of the run. He also served as capitaine for the women's courir held the Saturday before Mardi Gras. His son, Todd Frugé, is now capitaine of the courirs.

The courir uses a converted cattle trailer as the Mardi Gras wagon. Wearing screen masks and capuchons, the male riders gather at Fruge's barn off Highway 97 between Evangeline and Basile. They leave about 8 a.m., stopping at various homes in the countryside to beg for the ingredients for a gumbo. Some time after 2 p.m., the courir makes its way to Iota to take part in the Mardi Gras parade at the Folklife Festival. Though the festival is only a little over a decade old, the courir dates back further than anyone can remember, perhaps 100 years.

Click here for more pictures of the 1999 Tee-Mamou-Iota Mardi Gras Folklife Festival.

In addition, Iota has a children's Mardi Gras run on Sunday (ages 8-13) leaving from the Iota Elementary School in the early afternoon. The children ride in the same wagon used for the other Tee-Mamou-Iota runs. Children are chosen to participate in the run and attend meetings at which they learn the traditions, including the Tee-Mamou chant and dance. Like the other Mardi Gras, they wear costumes, capuchons, and screen masks Mardit12.jpg (15805 bytes)

Marditm1.jpg (22044 bytes)

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