Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler
Your guide to all the Mardi Gras krewes, parades, and parties in Lafayette, Louisiana
Mardi Gras season signals a time of celebration, especially in the heart of Louisiana's Cajun and Creole Country, famous for letting the good times roll, or as Lafayette locals say, laissez les bons temps rouler.
Dubbed the "Happiest City in America" by The Wall Street Journal, Lafayette invites you to let loose and experience all the revelry of Mardi Gras in a family-friendly atmosphere.
The more common Mardi Gras celebrations span two weekends in Lafayette, and in 2024 that's February 2-3 and 9-13. Festivities include parades, old-fashioned Mardi Gras runs (or courir de Mardi Gras), and, of course, plenty of king cake.
Here's your guide to Mardi Gras season in Lafayette this winter:
Courir de Mardi Gras
One of the more unique celebrations is the courir de Mardi Gras. This celebration dates back to medieval France, where disguised revelers dressed in mocking costumes would visit homes on Mardi Gras day.
The smaller towns surrounding Lafayette celebrate the courir with costumed men and women on horseback and trucks. They travel the countryside to beg residents for ingredients to a gumbo, usually with a musical band and onlookers following behind.
Once they arrive in town, a communal gumbo is cooked and enjoyed. For more information on this tradition, click here.
King cakes date back to 12th-century France, when a cake was baked on the eve of January 6 with a small token hidden inside. Whoever got the token in his or her slice became the royalty of the night.
The original French cakes, known as the galette des rois, were round, reflecting the route taken by the Magi to confuse King Herod, whose army was following the Wise Men.
The Louisiana king cake tradition differs from France. Louisiana king cakes are oval and decorated in the Carnival colors of purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power. Some are plain with only decorated sugar on top.
In contrast, others are filled with delicious things like cream cheese, fruit preserves, and praline filling. For a list of places making king cakes in Lafayette — and those that deliver! — click here.
Parades in Lafayette span two weekends, beginning with Krewe de Canailles on Friday (this year February 2), followed by Krewe des Chiens and Krewe of Rio on Saturday (February 3).
The Saturday before Mardi Gras hosts two parades starting with the Children's Parade, followed by Krewe of Bonaparte, both February 10.
Monday evening (February 12) is Queen Evangeline's Parade, but many of the women's krewes in town will ride on the parade floats as well.
On Mardi Gras day, February 13, 2024, there are three parades in Lafayette, starting with the long-standing King Gabriel's Parade, followed by the Lafayette Mardi Gras Festival Parade, and ending with the Townsquare Media Independent Parade.
For a complete list of Mardi Gras events in Lafayette and beyond, click here.
There is no better place to broaden your celebration than by exploring the rich cultural history, incredible culinary creations, and the distinctive Cajun and Zydeco music scene found in Lafayette.
So head on down to Lafayette and enjoy the fête — but don't forget to shout, "Throw me something, mister!"