Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Wild Louisiana

Costumed Mardi Gras revelers returning
to urban downtown Lafayette after a day on the prairie.

My Wild Louisiana is the name of my TV program which is now in pre-production as we set up a new editing system to process the 1/2 programs.

The focus will be nature, in conjunction with cultural festivities in Cajun Country.

Not limited to, but primarily; wild life, people, food, music, and dancing.

Naturally, all of these elements are at once present at a local festival.

The largest is a statewide celebration called Mardi Gras.

Above is a photo of the parade route through Lafayette.

This was shot on Johnston street, the main drag through town in front of Borden's Ice Cream, a local and historical landmark.

Commonly, parades will run through the heart of town and in this case the parade route is several miles long and actually blocks traffic on several US highways for extended periods of time while floats roll through  crowds of people eager to catch the cheap shiny trinkets thrown to a mass of people.

As seen below, young and old catch their share of beads and doubloons.

The floats are decorated in various themes as seen below.

An Aztec Sun God

Open to enterpretation

Satan worship?

All of this goes on in the name of a Catholic free for all preceeding a fast that begins the next day for people who go to the Catholic chuch to have ashes smeared across their forehead. The concept is; let's get fat on Tuesday before we begin to fast on Wednesday.

Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday"

At any rate there are many bizarre goings on in New Orleans which I will not evenget into here, but in Lafayette, the biggest Mardi Gras celebration in Louisiana outside of New Orleans,
 it is a relatively safe family environment.

I was once invited to a Mardi  Gras party in New Orleans and warned in advance
that I would "see everything" at this private party hosted by an acquaintance.

It only took me a moment to consider that I did not want to witness everything
considering some of the things I am aware is going on in the world today.

But...back to Lafayette Mardi Gras

Many people arrive early and get prime locations to park vehicles loaded with ice chests and barbeque pits and spend a day with the family in a community setting as seen below.

Christina and Scott

It was such a big day for my daughter Christina,
the puppies and her boyfriend Scott, that we went to take a power nap in my van between parades, as seen below.


All in all everyone had a great day as seen below.

Along with the public parades, are private businesses along the parade route offering music, dance, beverages and food to go with the big day as seen above at the Blue Moon Saloon about a 1/2 block away from the parade route where I took these pictures yesterday.

The Blue Moon Saloon and Guesthouse

Inside the Blue Moon Saloon after the parades were a couple of fine bands performing on stage as seen below.

Also in Cajun Country is an ancient tradition celebrated in the prairie areas west of Lafayette. Here is a link to Pat Mire's film: Dance for a Chicken

Cajun filmmaker Pat Mire gives us an inside look at the colorful, rural Cajun Mardi Gras. Every year before Lent begins, processions of masked and costumed revelers, often on horseback, go from house to house gathering ingredients for communal gumbos in communities across rural southwest Louisiana. The often-unruly participants in this ancient tradition play as beggars, fools, and thieves as they raid farmsteads and perform in exchange for charity or, in other words, "dance for a chicken."

This is a great film with detailed history, colorful costumes, and the bizarre behavior typical of the prairie Cajun Mardi Gras.