Mardi Gras is Coming! by Pepper Phillips

100_0657In southern Louisiana, Mardi Gras is King!

Of course we decorate. This massive glass bowl held Christmas Balls during the Christmas Season.

Now it’s holding glass balls with Mardi Gras colors. Purple, green and gold are the designated colors. There aren’t many green balls in this, but I have more in the living room with equal amounts of the colors.

Come Easter, I’ll put in plastic easter eggs. The more the merrier.

It depends on the crazy woman who lives in the house how far she will take the decorations.

This crazy woman did have some nice wreaths, but that was a few years ago. A neighbor on another road does a gorgeous decoration on her mailbox.

I’ll wear my Mardi Gras t-shirt, plastic beads, a mask, anything that makes me happy.

We’ll purchase a King cake. These are big braided loaves of sweet bread, stuffed – my favorite is cream cheese – and decorated with icing colored yellow, green and purple, sometimes sprinkled with candy sparkle crystals. They used to put a little plastic baby or coin somewhere inside the cake and whoever got it, bought the next King cake.  In the olden days, they’d put in a bean. But most don’t have anything anymore because I’m sure someone somewhere sued when they chomped on one.

One year I made a King cake. The recipe was in a New Orleans cookbook and I was throwing the ingredients into the mixing bowl and then noticed…they were general instructions!  So, I braved through it and threw ingredients into that bowl and came up with something that wasn’t too bad after all.  I’m one of those cooks who will follow a recipe. Though I have ventured off the beaten path a few times, coming up with my own classic dishes.

There is a Krewe or two around this area. A King and a Queen are selected. There are parades, where Mardi Gras floats are rented or created by a business or individuals.

Parades are fun…except in the rain. I was in one parade with six inches of water in the bottom of the rented float. Everyone was miserable by the end of the parade…with wet feet!

Beads are thrown from floats, “Throw me something mister!” is the call of the day. Along with plastic cups, individually wrapped candies, maybe a t-shirt, and once our float threw out five thousand mini Moon Pies. My arm was sore for two days after that.

People dress up in costumes, sporting as many different kinds of beads that they can buy or catch.

It’s a different experience. Everyone knows that New Orleans has parades for weeks during the Mardi Gras season, but the small towns celebrate as well.

In Rayne, Louisiana, they do something that’s been done for years. Men on horseback roam the countryside with strange wire masks, getting the ingredients for a huge gumbo.

Fat Tuesday is the day for most of the small town celebrations.

If you can ever attend a Mardi Gras parade, do so. They are a lot of fun. My favorites are the ones held in Lafayette, Louisiana. They have three parades, a kid’s parade, the Queen’s parade, and the King’s parade.

The crowds are huge, and the kids are happy when they ‘catch’ something.

“Throw me something mister!”

“Laissez les bons tempt rouler.” Let the good times roll!



14 thoughts on “Mardi Gras is Coming! by Pepper Phillips

  1. Pingback: Mardi Gras is Coming! by Pepper Phillips | Pepper Phillips

  2. Hey, Pepper. Loved your post. I arranged my New Orleans ceramic masks on the wall in the living room of our new townhouse. Larry and I used to go to New Orleans every year until the casinos moved in. Then the Quarter got kind of scary at night. So I have about 9 of the masks. Daytime in the Quarter is a lot of fun because they have a saint day parade just about every weekend leading up to the big event. I’ve always loved New Orleans. Had a great uncle who lived there. In fact, he died on one of the streetcars. I always wondered what the name of that streetcar was.


    • New Orleans is fun…if you stay in a well-lit area and don’t venture where you shouldn’t. When the girls and I go for our annual convention, I’ll ask a group of men if we can tag along with them, and they are always nice about it. A group of us used to go to The Dungeon, which is a biker bar…I have several good stories about that place, but it’s definitely small town girl in the big bad city. LOL


  3. I’ve never attended a Marti Gras parade…I feel like I’ve missed out on something truly amazing. I told my husband we need to fix that! 5000 mini-moon-pies??? What a sight that must have been :). You make the South come alive for me, Pepper. Thanks.


    • I saw a case of the mini-moon pies at Sam’s Club Saturday. Almost bought it, but knowing I would be the one to eat them all, left it on the shelf. All I need to do is buy one for a quick fix. But the little ones are so cute, and to me better tasting because they aren’t so thick. Alas…


    • The guys in the wire masks ride horses and knock on doors for live chickens. At least I think that’s what I read. They make a big gumbo. It’s too cold for crawfish, and you pick them up out of shallow water. There are some available, but they’re small and very expensive. We won’t start harvesting until late March or early April. You don’t dig them up. LOL I’ll write more about it when the season is upon us.


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