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LSUE Mardi Gras Photos:
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Some photos are available in high resolution versions on Flickr.

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

Note: The account below describes the revival of the LeJeune Cove run in 2002. In 2009, the run is still going strong the Saturday before Mardi Gras. In the evening, the LeJeune Cove Mardi Gras host a dance.

There was something almost magical about the revival of the LeJeune Cove Mardi Gras Courir in 2002 after a lapse of some 50 years. Yes, it had all of the trappings of an old time Mardi Gras run: all male riders were on horseback wearing traditional costumes with capuchons and hand-made masks,  wagons accompanied the riders, and the Mardi Gras sang the LeJeune Cove Mardi Gras Song, all just as they had done in the courir before World War II.

But what made the 2002 LeJeune Cove Courir really special was that it was truly a family and community event: the Mardi Gras played jokes on their neighbors,  pretended to try to steal the women, and tampered  with anything in the yards that wasn't nailed down–disrupting normal everything in their path. But when they swooped up their children in their arms, the real spirit of Mardi Gras shone through: a break from the routines of ordinary life that ultimately serves to renew a deep sense of community among family members and neighbors who have known one another all of their lives.

Early in the morning of February 9, 2002, starting before 7 a.m., the Mardi Gras began to gather next to the Maison de Pointe aux Loups Bed and Breakfast north of Iota on Highway 91. Standing on the porch at about 7:30 a.m., Father David Broussard gave a blessing for a safe courir in both French and English. Next, Charlotte Miller  displayed photographs of the courir from long ago. She shared some of the courir's history and recognized those who had helped provide historical information, including Mrs. Nolan Hugh (Betty) Miller, Mrs. Joyce LeJeune (daughter of Alexon Miller, the old captain), Mr. Calvin Andrepont, Mr. Bill LeJeune,  Mr. Alfin "Fano" Miller, and Dr. Ray Brassieur of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

According to the account published in the Crowley Post Signal January 27, 2002, the courir dates from the earliest days of the L'Anse LeJeune settlement, a small rural community about four miles north of Iota. The Mardi Gras rode on horseback until, after World War II, an epidemic of sleeping sickness killed many of the horse. They then rode on the back of trucks, but, finally, during the 1950s, the courir disbanded. (The information in the story was compiled from first-hand accounts by Betty Miller, Joyce LeJeune, Bill LeJeune, Calvin Andrepont, and Alfin Miller.)

After Charlotte Miller's historical tribute, Gus Gravot, capitaine of the LeJeune Cove Mardi Gras, went over the rules of the run, and then the courir headed north on Highway 91 toward the first stop. The route circled back, staying within the LeJeune Cove area, finally arriving in the latter part of the afternoon at the Steve Miller Farm for a gumbo..

The 2003 LeJeune Cove Mardi Gras Run was being dedicated to the memory of Jason Holy of Iota, a member of the 2002 courir who died only two weeks after the run in an accident at work.

Click here for more photos of the 2002 LeJeune Cove Mardi Gras Run.

In the photos below, Father David Broussard, standing on the porch of the Pointe aux Loups Bed and Breakfast, offers his blessing to the Mardi Gras. Charlotte Miller is shown holding up a photo of the courir from long ago while speaking to the runners to offer some historical background. The Mardi Gras then posed for a photo on the porch before the start of the run.

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The photos above include a shot of Capitaine Gus Gravot at the head of the courir and a picture of him getting permission from a family to allow the riders to enter their property. The next photo shows the Mardi Gras assembling to sing their song and beg. In the photo immediately above, a Mardi Gras tries a new begging strategy by pretending to threaten to spray a home owner who didn't seem to want to offer anything.

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Above, the Mardi Gras points to his hand in a begging gesture, trying to get a few coins from Dr. Barry Ancelet of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

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