South Louisiana is home to the greatest free party on earth, a colorful celebration known as Mardi Gras. In Lafayette, LA residents celebrate in many ways including the traditional Courir de Mardi Gras; parades with marching bands, beads and doubloons; Mardi Gras Indians with elaborate dancing and costumes; various styles of king cakes; as well as extravagant Mardi Gras balls complete with a king and queen. Click the image to the right for the 2017 schedule of events or view the listings below.
FEB 3 – Carencro Mardi Gras Parade. Starts at Carencro High. Ends by Carencro Community Center. 11 a.m. 337-896-4147, Carencro.org.
FEB 3 – Krewe of Carnivale en Rio Mardi Gras Parade. Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette. 6:30 p.m. 337-984-6522, RioLafayette.com.
FEB 4 – Courir de Mardi Gras - Old-Fashion Mardi Gras Run. Vermilionville, 300 Fisher Rd., Lafayette. 337-233-4077, Vermilionville.org.
FEB 4 – Scott Mardi Gras Parade. City of Scott. 1 p.m. 337-269-5155.
FEB 9 – Krewe de Canailles Walking Parade. Downtown Lafayette, 6: 30 p.m.
FEB 9-13 – Le Festival de Mardi Gras a Lafayette. Cajun Field, Lafayette. Carnival rides & games, live music, food vendors, parades roll through festival grounds. Times vary. 800-346-1958, GoMardiGras.com.
FEB 10– Krewe of Bonaparte Mardi Gras Parade. Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette. 6:30 p.m. 800-346-1958, GoMardiGras.com.
FEB 10 – Children's Parade. Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette. 12:30 p.m. 800-346-1958, GoMardiGras.com.
FEB 10 – Youngsville Mardi Gras Parade. Public Works building to Fountain View, Youngsville. 337-856-4181.
FEB 11 – Queen Evangeline’s Parade. Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette. 6 p.m. 800-346-1958, GoMardiGras.com.
FEB 13 – Mardi Gras Show at Clark Field. Clark Field Stadium, Lafayette.
FEB 13 – King Gabriel’s Parade. Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette. 10 a.m. 800-346-1958, GoMardiGras.com.
FEB 13 – Lafayette Mardi Gras Festival Parade. Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette. 1 p.m. 800-346-1958, GoMardiGras.com.
FEB 13 – TownSquare Media Independent Parade. Downtown to Cajun Field, Lafayette. 2:30 p.m. 337-237-1500, GoMardiGras.com.
FEB 13 – Southwest Mardi Gras Association Pageant & Ball. Heymann Performing Arts Center and Frem F. Boustany Convention Center, 1373 S College Rd., Lafayette. 337-291-5540, HeymannCenter.com.
FEB 9 – Downtown Opelousas Mardi Gras Celebration. Delta Grand Theatre, 120 S Market St., Opelousas. 337-948-6263, CajunTravel.com.
FEB 9-11 – Lil Nate’s L’Argent Trailride, Chicken Run & Parade. Yambilee Arena, 1939 W Landry St., Opelousas. 337-319-0639, CajunTravel.com.
FEB 13 – Sunset Mardi Gras Parade. Oak Tree Park Dr., Sunset. 337-322-5374, CajunTravel.com.
FEB 13 – Half-Fast Krewe of Frank Mardi Gras Parade. 600 E Landry St., Opelousas. 337-351-6943, CajunTravel.com.
FEB 4 – Krewe of Ezana Jeanerette Mardi Gras Parade. Canal, MLK & Main St, Jeanerette. 1 p.m. 337-255-9539, IberiaTravel.com.
FEB 13 – Grand Marais Mardi Gras Parade. Hwy 90 E at College Rd., Jeanerette. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 337-365-8185, IberiaTravel.com.
FEB 13 – Krewe of Coteau Mardi Gras Parade. Francis Romero Memorial Park & LA 88, Coteau. 1 p.m. 337-577-5099, IberiaTravel.com.
FEB 13 – Family Affair Mardi Gras Parade. Main St., Loreauville. 2 p.m. 337-229-6001, IberiaTravel.com.
FEB 11 – Newcomers Club Mardi Gras Festival. St. Martinville City Fairgrounds. StMartinville.org.
FEB 12 – Rotary Club Mardi Gras Ball. Cade Community Center, 1688 Smede Hwy., St. Martinville. 337-394-2233, StMartinville.org.
FEB 9-13 – Cajun Country Courir de Mardi Gras. Downtown Eunice - 2nd Street area. 337-457-7389, CajunTravel.com.
FEB 10-11 – Cajun Courir de Mardi Gras Run. Saddle Tramp Club House, 1036 E Ebey St., Downtown for parades, Church Point. 877-783-2109, ChurchPointMardiGras.com.
FEB 11 – Eunice Lil’ Mardi Gras. Eunice Rec Complex, 461 Sittig St., Eunice. 337-457-7389, CajunTravel.com.
FEB 12 – Lundi Gras Boucherie. Lakeview Park & Beach, 1717 Veterans Memorial Hwy., Eunice. 337-457-2881, CajunTravel.com.
FEB 13 – Tee Mamou-Iota Mardi Gras Folklife Festival. Downtown, Iota. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. 337-523-6557, IotaMardiGras.com.
FEB 13 – Carnival D'Acadie (Mardi Gras). Downtown, Crowley. Fair, live music and street dance, costume contests, parade. 337-783-0821, Crowley-LA.com.
FEB 13 – Mamou Mardi Gras. Downtown, Mamou. 337-468-3175.
FEB 13 – Krewe Chic-A-La-Pie Mardi Gras Parade. Downtown, Kaplan. 337-643-6554.
FEB 3 – Lake Arthur Mardi Gras Parade. Lake Arthur. 337-774-3675.
FEB 10 – Jennings Mardi Gras Festival & Parade. Founder's Park, 341 N Main St., Jennings. 337-821-5532, CityOfJennings.com/Events.
Ash Wednesday is always 47 days before Easter, and Fat Tuesday is always the day before Ash Wednesday. Easter can fall on any Sunday from March 23 to April 25, with the exact date to coincide with the first Sunday after the full moon following a spring equinox.
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All parades will begin at the corner of Simcoe, Jefferson and Surrey streets and end at Cajun Field, except for the Children's Parade which is abbreviated. You can view a parade route here.
Parades will be rolling through the streets of Lafayette the weekend before Mardi Gras on Saturday with the Krewe of Rio parade. The weekend preceding Mardi Gras there are parades the Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. There are more parades rolling throughout Acadiana in the rural cities throughout the Mardi Gras season. Click here for a list of parades and other Mardi Gras events throughout Acadiana.
The Lafayette Police Department places barricades along the parade route for the public's safety. Please remain behind the barricades when the parades are rolling.
The Lafayette Police Department will close all streets on and around the parade route one hour before the event begins. The intersection of University Avenue and Johnston Street, along with the intersection of St. Mary Boulevard and Johnston Street, will remain open as crossover intersections until the parade is only several blocks from the location. Click here for more information.
Lafayette offers a family friendly Mardi Gras and you should not encounter any problems. But like any event involving crowds, you might want to place a note in the pocket of each child with the child's name, address and contact telephone number.
Police will be available along the parade routes but command posts are established at Fire Station No. 1 at Vermilion and Lee streets, Fire Station No. 5 at Johnston and St. Julien streets, Lafayette Police Command Bus at Johnston Street and S. College and at Cajun Field. Medical assistance is available at ambulance units stationed on the parade route. Click here for more information.
The 500 block of Jefferson Boulevard (between South Orange and South Sterling streets) and at Vermilion and Lee Street and St. Julien and Johnston Street, in front of the police command post, are viewing areas for the handicapped.
The Mardi Gras Show at Clark Field offers costume contests, in addition to Mardi Gras Indians, food and live music.
Le Festival de Mardi Gras a Lafayette offers a carnival midway, live music, food and, best of all, the parades end here! It all happens nightly during Mardi Gras at Cajun Field.
The official colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green and gold. Purple represents justice, green represents faith and gold represents power.
A King Cake is an oblong pastry that contains a tiny plastic baby who represents the Christ child. Whoever gets the baby hidden within the king cake must buy the next one. And so the tradition continues on to Mardi Gras Day. There are different styles of King Cake from traditional to modern, all of them delicious.
The tradition of throwing doubloons, beads and trinkets started in New Orleans in the early 1870s when the city’s Twelfth Night Revelers flung trinkets to the crowds while they made their way through New Orleans streets. The idea was so popular with their audience that the tradition continues to this day, although modern throws involve mostly beads and cups.
In the rural areas of Lafayette, LA residents celebrate Mardi Gras with the unique “Courir de Mardi Gras” or Mardi Gras runs where masked men on horseback would travel the countryside knocking on doors, singings songs, dancing and begging for ingredients to make a gumbo. Many times homeowners would throw a chicken to the begging krewe and maskers would attempt to catch the bird for gumbo meat. Musicians sometimes followed the krewes, providing more merriment. When the courirs returned to town, they produced a communal gumbo for all to enjoy.
Lafayette, LA's Mardi Gras celebration is absolutely geared towards families. From staking out a spot along the barricaded parade route to the Le Festival de Mardi Gras a Lafayette at Cajun Field with carnival rides and live music you can be sure your family will be safe and have a great time.
You may park along a side street free of charge, avoiding driveways and private property. Don't be surprised to see "entrepreneurs" along the way to park in a private parking lot near the parade route. If you want to watch the parades from the the Le Festival de Mardi Gras, you may park for a fee at Cajun Field. Admission to the festival is free.
Weather in Lafayette, LA during Mardi Gras is as unpredictable as the revelers you'll encounter. It's always best to check the weather ahead of time and be prepared for anything. An umbrella, poncho or rain jacket is always a good idea even if rain is not expected. The temperature can change depending on the time of day. It could be very warm during the day and drop to colder temperatures in the evening. Dress for warm and cold weather by layering your clothes, adding to and taking off as the temperature changes. Blankets are also a good idea not only for warmth but to sit on while waiting on the parades.
While the parades are in progress you should stay behind the barricades. Definitely have fun and let loose, but realize that lewd behavior and/or drunkenness can get you arrested. Don't throw things at the float riders. It’s not only disrespectful, but you could seriously hurt someone. If you have children make sure to keep them close and come up with a meeting area in case you get separated from each other. There are several items are prohibited along the parade route including weapons, fireworks, bicycles, glass containers, and pets.