The first place most Americans think of when they think of Mardi Gras is New Orleans, and for good reason since the Big Easy’s Carnival celebrations are legendary.
But many parts of Louisiana have their own krewes and festivities leading up to Fat Tuesday (which is what Mardi Gras means in English), and Mardi Gras of Southwest Louisiana is one of them.
Ordinarily, Mardi Gras of Southwest Louisiana would be letting the good times roll from mid-January to Fat Tuesday, which falls on Feb. 16 this year. But in the interests of public safety, the organization will not be hosting any parades this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate from home.
One way is to enter the Shoebox Float Contest! Use your imagination to turn a traditional cardboard shoebox into an impressive float design that will be judged online. The deadline to submit your entry is Wednesday, Feb. 3. For more details, go to www.visitlakecharles.org/swlamardigras/events/shoebox-float-contest.
You could also get into the Mardi Gras spirit by making or buying a King Cake, a traditional part of Mardi Gras festivities. Formed in a round shape like a crown, it is decorated with Carnival colors – purple (for justice), green (for faith) and gold (for power) – and various party items such as beads and masks, and a little plastic baby is tucked inside to make whoever finds it “king for a day.” That person is also responsible for bringing the king cake to the next year’s party. There are tons of recipes for king cake available, but for Mardi Gras of Southwest Louisiana suggestions, visit www.visitlakecharles.org/swlamardigras/about/king-cake.
Of course, New Orleans will be keeping the party going as well, even though all parades have been cancelled. There are virtual parades being planned, photo contests and more. Go to www.mardigrasneworleans.com for details.