Memorable Mardi Gras festivites planned for 2014

By By Lance Traweek / American Press

Mardi Gras Southwest Louisiana brings residents together to celebrate food, music and parades in Lake Charles and across the

region, said Kaylen Fletcher, public relations manager for the Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitor’s Bureau.

On Tuesday, event organizers gathered for a news conference to announce Mardi Gras events. “We are so excited,” said Marilyn

Dawdy, president of Mardi Gras Southwest Louisiana.

Dawdy said Mardi Gras 2014 has taken a year to plan and will be the second-largest Mardi Gras celebration in the state.

“We feel certain you are going to have a very memorable Mardi Gras this year,” Dawdy said. “Please join with us in having

a good time.”

The group has a smartphone application that people can use to get the latest information. The app is available from iTunes

and the Google Play Store.

Rebecca Moss, parade chairman, said parade routes will be the same as last year.

“We’re making memories,” said Mayor Randy Roach. “It’s really great to see all of the tradition that’s been created around

Mardi Gras here in Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana.”

Mardi Gras poster

Lake Charles resident Parris Duhon was

chosen as the winner of the official 2014 Mardi Gras of Southwest

Louisiana poster

contest. Duhon’s digital creation portrays a jester donning Mardi

Gras colors. Duhon is a faculty member at F.K. White Middle

School. He has an associate degree in art from Sowela Technical

Community College.

Posters, measuring 16 by 20 inches, are on sale at Gordon’s Drug Store and the Party Time Store. Cost is $35 for signed copies

and $25 for unsigned copies.

Twelfth Night

Events will begin with Twelfth Night at

6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 6, in the Lake Charles Civic Center. The event

will feature

the Washington-Marion High School marching band, Barbe High

Bluebells and Cajun music. More than 60 krewes will be included.

Tickets are $5 in advance and $6 at the door. Children under age 5

will get in free.

Mardi Gras pageant

The Miss Mardi Gras of Southwest Louisiana Pageant is open to ages 5-23. The pageant will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 11,

in the Civic Center’s Contraband Room.

Contestants must be residents of the five-parish area. Entry forms are at Entry deadline is Saturday,

Jan. 4.

Admission will be $5 for adults and $3 for children under age 12.

Gumbo cookoff

The Mardi Gras Gumbo Cook-off, with

more than 45 teams, will be 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, March 1, in the

Civic Center’s Exhibition

Hall. Admission will be $5.

Krewe of Omega Parade

The Krewe of Omega Parade will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 1, at the Civic Center.

Krewe of Barkus Parade

The Krewe of Barkus Parade will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 1, at the Civic Center.

Zydeco dance

The annual zydeco dance will be 3-5 p.m. Saturday, March 1, in the Civic Center.

Children’s Day

Children’s Day, for those ages 3-11, will be noon-3 p.m. Sunday, March 2, in the Civic Center’s Exhibition Hall. The Children’s

Parade will roll at 3:30 p.m.

Taste de la Louisiane

Taste de la Louisiane will be in the Civic Center’s Jean Lafitte Room on Sunday, March 2.

Royal Gala

The Royal Gala will be at 7 p.m. Monday, March 3, in the Civic Center. Advance tickets are $5.

Iowa Chicken Run

The Iowa Chicken Run will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 4, at the Knights of Columbus hall, 503 East U.S. 90.

Vinton Mardi Gras

Vinton’s Mardi Gras celebration will start with the Krewe des Gratis gumbo cookoff at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 22. The parade

will be at 2 p.m.

The route, through downtown Vinton, will conclude at the Knights of Columbus hall. Gumbo judging will begin at 3 p.m.

Krewe of Golden Years

The Calcasieu Council on Aging will present the Krewe of the Golden Years’ annual Mardi Gras Ball 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 24,

in the Civic Center. Attendants are encouraged to wear a mask and dress up in Mardi Gras colors. Kings and queens will be

presented after breakfast. The event is free for those age 60 and older. Call 474-2583.

Shoebox float contest

The visitors bureau will hold a Mardi

Gras shoebox decorating contest. Participants are asked to decorate with

glitter, glue,

feathers, sequins and beads. There are school group and amateur

divisions for all ages. Adult civic groups and organizations

are invited to participate. Deadline to register is Jan. 20.