Part of our reason for being in Louisiana during Mardi Gras was to attend the parades and learn about the culture of the participants and the celebration. But our focus on Mardi Gras was not on the partying of New Orleans, but on the traditional practices of those living in the small towns of Cajun Country. Not on the elaborate rules and expensive responsi-bilities of the New Orleans Krewes, but on the informal parades and family par-ticipation of the traditions of rural Acadiana.
In the January/February edition of Louisiana Life, the article "Allons Au Mardi Gras," lists 70 parades or celebrations that were to be held in Cajun Country, the section of the state around Lafayette, between January 6th and March 8th.
Taking into account location and the time and theme of the parade or activity, we developed a plan to see as many different types of parades as possible.
The first parade we decided to attend was to be held in Lafayette. Not knowing the parking situation and the number of people to expect at the parade, we arrived at 11am, three hours for the 2pm Krewe des Chiens Parade.
Given that the judging for costumes was to begin at noon, we thought this would enable us to beat the crowd.
As you can see from the first photo we had certainly beaten the crowds. The barriers were in place along the route, so we could see that we literally had our choice of viewing position along this three-block section.
However, we opted to walk the short distance to the parade's starting point to view the costume judging.
As you may have surmised (or knew from speaking French), this first parade we had chosen to attend was a parade for dogs.
The photos shown here were taken before the parade and show the participants (furry and non-furry) preparing for the parade. As you might have guessed, judging for costumes covered both types of partici-pants.
One of the group's missions is: "To have fun while helping our less fortunate furry friends." Based on our obser-vations, we think that all are doing well with that portion of their mission statement.
Another one of the group's missions is: "To reduce the number of unwanted animals through public education about the many benefits of spaying or neutering pets."
"Our mission helps the many shelters and animal aid organizations in the Acadiana area that are in need of financial help."
Miss Tallulah Belle was all set to begin the parade, but a somewhat reluctant participant was
this Neapolitan Mastiff. I've forgotten his name, but after watching him patiently deal with people who wanted to talk with him, I liked this guy.
All I could think about as he slowly headed to the parade formation area was that you would never get a cat into a costume like these.
We, too, headed to our observation point as the parade began.