Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Courir du Mardi Gras

We all gathered for a 7AM departure to caravan to Church Point for the 50th annual Mardi Gras Chicken Run (Courir). Everyone at Betty's was invited to Mr. Johnny Stanford's farm to watch this traditional Cajun celebration. This custom dates back to the Middle Ages and is a tradition carried on by the Cajuns. Back then the poor would dress in strange costumes to mock the aristocrats while traveling from farm to farm collecting food and money.

Top, the group from Betty's settles in and do what we do best, eat and drink, while we waited for the fun revelers to arrive Bottom left, Wendell, the master chef for the day, brought his grill, ribs and pork chops while others contributed sausage, shrimp, hot dogs and boudin. Middle, CeCe, Irene and Lori show off their hats. Right, Nanc discovering that you can drink wine for breakfast.

As part of the Chicken Run tradition the Captain arrives on horseback and asks the owner, Mr. Stanford, for permission to come on his property to gather chickens for the end of the run gumbo.

The "chicken chasers" arrived by the wagon load around 11AM. They had been at it (chasing chickens and drinking) since 6AM and had already been to several farms. This added to the craziness of the whole affair.

They wear colorful fringed costumes, wire mesh masks and pointed hats called capuchons. Many show their disdain for the rich by NOT wearing the traditional green, purple and gold. Middle bottom is a beggar asking for money to help pay for the meal.

One of the wagons had a live band that played Cajun music as the revelers asked the ladies to dance. Top dancers from our group left to right are Bobby, Linda and Irene. Bottom is Betty dancing with The Captain, Diane and Nancy Doyle.

The wildest part was when the chickens (guinea hens) were released and the revelers captured them for the gumbo. Today they don't eat these particular birds as the gumbo is ready for the group at the end of the parade. But, there was a pickup that had a pen loaded with all the captured birds.

Top is the Captain with a captured chicken and the young man who got the first one. Bottom is a bird about to be released and its captor giving it to one of the Captains. Center are a few of the birds in a "pet taxi" to make them think they were just going for a ride.

In addition to the people on horses and the floats there were many walking and stopping to dance with spectators. Mardi Gras is a participation event.

A few of the more than fifty floats in the parade that followed the capture of the chickens. Many floats have generators so they can play music and most have the traditional port-o-john so they can recycle the beer. They came in all shapes and sizes and the revelers on board looked like they were having as much fun as we were watching and catching beads.

There were hundreds of horses, some with riders and others pulling wagons and floats.

And of course the goal of a Mardi Gras parade is to get beads. Top are an exhausted Bobby and Jim, Ruth, Irene and Nanc. Bottom are Nicole, Betty, Diane and Scott, and Terri and Rich. All of them weighed down with their booty. Everyone had a GREAT time and we all agreed we have never seen anything like this. This was the most fun of the five Mardi Gras events we attended. If you are ever in Acadiana for Mardi Gras make sure you see a Chicken Run.

2 comments:

Jim and Bobbie said...

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