It is Fat Tuesday, a day filled with Mardi Gras parades and celebrations that are centuries old. New Roads native Brian Cosetllo recently wrote a new book called “Carnival in Louisiana: Celebrating Mardi Gras from the French Quarter to the Red River.” He says everyone is familiar with the large Krewe parades in cities like Lafayette and New Orleans, but small towns also get in on the fun.
“Up where I live in New Roads, our parades are charitable events. The first known parade to roll are charitable fundraisers, and they’re actually open to community participation,” Costello said.
Costello says one of the more unique traditions that’s rooted in ancient Catholic tradition continues today in coastal Louisiana.
“In Gaines, a rural community on the east bank of Bayou Lafourche in Lafourche Parish, riders actually dismount from trucks and will spank kids if they don’t say their prayers,” Costello said.
Costello says several Cajun communities will not have any parades or floats today, instead they’ll continue the tradition of the Courir de Mardi Gras, which goes back to the 18th Century.
“Where equestrian riders go from house to house procuring ingredients for communal gumbo at day’s end,” Costello said.