Mardi Gras: The party has already started, with plenty more fun on the way

Published 8:21 am Thursday, February 8, 2024

Some Mardi Gras celebrations have already begun in Southwest Louisiana, and there are more to come. For those events with no phone number listed, call (337) 425-8623 to find out more.

Lighted Boat Parade cancelled: The Lighted Boat Parade scheduled for Thursday night has been cancelled due to the possibility of inclement weather. All other events were still scheduled as of press time.

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Friday, Feb. 9 is the Merchant’s Parade beginning at 7 p.m. Local businesses and social organizations will move from the Lake Charles Event Center down West Pine Street to Ryan Street, ending at Sale Road.

Saturday, Feb. 10 is the World Famous Cajun Extravaganza and Gumbo Cookoff at the Event Center from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Taste gumbo from amateur and professional teams. In addition to the food, enjoy festive music. Admission is $10. Children five and under are free.

The Children’s Stroll is a walking parade for children ages 3-12. Children are encouraged to decorate Mardi Gras umbrellas and prepare to show off their Mardi Gras spirit. No fee. Walking only. No motorized vehicles, bikes, strollers, skateboards or pets. No throws. Lineup begins at 10 a.m. at LCB’s Cougar Stadium parking, 1175 1st Avenue. Departure at 10:30. Participants will head down 1st Avenue, then 4rth to 9th Ave. Marching beats to be provided by high school marching bands. Call (337) 491-1280 to find out more.

Catch the Krewe of Barkus, a parade of costumed pets from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. The parade starts at the corner of Ryan and Broad and will end at 425 Broad St. Register at 11 a.m. $10 CASH for dog entry. Call (337) 439-3300 to find out more.

The Krewe of Omega rolls at 2 p.m. The first and oldest Southwest Louisiana krewe will start at the northside of the Event Center and travel to Broad Street, turn east on Enterprise Boulevard and then head back to the Event Center after the turn on Mill Street.

Sunday, Feb. 11 is Children’s Day. From 10 a.m. to noon at the Lake Charles Event Center Exhibition Hall, this free event is tailored especially for families with children.

The Children’s Day Parade, made up of 1. children of krewe members, 2. kids’ organizations, 3. businesses geared toward youth and 4. local businesses and organizations begins at 1 p.m. Line up is downtown. The parade will head south on Ryan Street and end at West Sale Road.

Monday, Feb. 12, make a Mardi Gras mask at Sam Houston Jones State Park, 107 Sutherland Road in Moss Bluff at 10 a.m. An Interpretative Ranger will have blank masks for kids to color and decorate.  The number for the park is (337) 855-2665.

The Mardi Gras Royal Gala is at 7 p.m. at the Event Center. Admission is $10 per person and children five and under are free for the lavish promenade of Krewe royalty, displayed costumes and music and dancing for all.  Call (337) 244-1466 to find out more.

Tuesday, Feb. 13 is the Iowa Chicken Run. Doors open at 8 a.m. at the Knights of
Columbus Hall, 503 E. Highway 90. Floats line up at 9 a.m. The parade rolls at 10 a.m. going west on Hwy. 90 and stopping at local businesses. The captain will blow his whistle at participating points for crews to get down to dance to zydeco. Sometimes the captain will throw one or more chickens into the air for the children to catch. The parade stops at Market Basket where more

chickens are released, then it’s back to the KC Hall where ingredients are put in the pot with the chickens and gumbo is served. The event concludes with a zydeco dance beginning at 5 p.m. The entry fee is $15 at the door for adults, $10 for kids. Children 12 and under, $5. For more info, call 337-842-1875.

Mardi Gras in the Zone commences at 11:30 and ends at 3:30. This is the 15th year of the family-oriented, alcohol’ and tobacco-free  event for kids, teens and parents. Enjoy music, games, food and other activities along the Ryan Street parade route. Call 337-721-3900 to find out more.

Second Line Stroll starts at 1 p.m. This is a walking parade made up of area groups that will walk along the Ryan St. to Sale St. route.

Motor Gras Parade revs into motion at 3 p.m.  and will feature hot rods, classics and motorcycles.

The Mardi Gras Southwest Krewe of Krewe Parades is the culmination of Mardi Gras in Lake Charles. Thousands of beads, cubs, doubloons and other items will be tossed to the crowd. Over 60 krewes will participate with 100 floats. Starting at 5 p.m. , the parade will travel from the north end of Bord du Lac Drive, cross over Lakeshore Drive onto Pine Street, turn right on Ryan Street and continue south of Ryan to Sale Road.

The Lake Charles Downtown Business Association hosts its block party from noon until 8 p.m. at the southeast corner of Broad and Ryan St.

Mardi Gras in DeRidder and Leesville

Saturday, Feb. 10, the DeRidder Mardi Gras Celebration, organized by the Greater Beauregard Chamber of Commerce will be held at the Beauregard Fairgrounds on West Drive. Ages 12 and over pay $5. Gumbo cookoff, 8 a.m.; intro of queens, 9 a.m.; cakewalk, 9:30 a.m.; 10 a.m., Mambo line dancing class and children’s mask decorating begins. 10:30, taste gumbo, cooking demo; 10:45 children’s crawfish race; 11 am children’s coloring contest winners announced and shoebox parade; 11:30, chicken run; 1 p.m., gumbo cookoff winners announced; 1:30 p.m. musical chairs for the kids; 2 p.m., Mardi Gras costume contest for the adults.

The annual parade starts at 4 p.m. The route begins at the Old First Baptist Church on U.S. 171/North Pine and will travel to Steamboat Bills’ on North Pine.

The Women’s League will present its annual Gala at the Beauregard Fairground Exhibition Hall. Social hour, 7 p.m. and presentation at 8 p.m. Advance tickets are $40, and are available at Sunshine #8, Planet Nutrition and Dear Me Southern Boutique. At the door pay $45.

Saturday, Feb. 10, the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will  host its Mardi Gras Parade beginning at 1 p.m. in historic downtown Leesville.