As of last night – Twelfth Night or Epiphany – the 2014 Mardi Gras season officially began. Every January 6, Lake Charles hosts a “Twelfth Night Extravaganza” at the Civic Center arena. At this event, basically an indoor parade, the royal courts from the local krewes parade and make their exit for the year, paving the way for the new kings and queens. A krewe (for my non-Louisiana readers) is a club of sorts: a group of people who celebrate Mardi Gras together. They have fun krewe names like Krewe of Illusions, Krewe of Mystique, Krewe of Contraband, and Kewe of Mischief. Many have French names that I can't pronounce or translate. Lake Charles has over 60 krewes and is second in the state only to New Orleans with the number of krewes participating in Mardi Gras activities. I had heard of this event since moving to Lake Charles, but last night was the first time my family and I attended. I knew some of the paraders and wanted to witness the pomp and pageantry first hand. The costumes are colorful, feathery, elaborate, and truly something to behold.
My camera does not take good photos in dimly lit settings, so I’m borrowing this clip from the local TV station, KPLC. Please click here to watch.
Here are some of my thoughts and observations from the event:
· The Washington-Marion High School Marching Band was super. For a small band, they can really make some noise. And they dance well, too.
But I think we could do without the policemen on motorcycles with sirens. That was a bit TOO much noise, especially for an indoor parade.
· Each person attending the event is given a (very small) piece of King Cake. Twelve lucky winners found the “baby” in their piece. They won some fantastic prizes (computers, cameras, and other electronic gadgets). No one in my family won.
· I don’t know if it’s a new trend in Mardi Gras royalty attire, but I really loved the peacock feathers in several of the headpieces. They are actually supported on the shoulders and some are so huge, I don’t know how the people walk with them on. See what I mean! Does anyone know what these are officially called?
What is your favorite Mardi Gras activity?
Laissez les bon ton roulette!