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Mardi Gras Memories King Cimmer LVI and his Queen

2011 Tee-Mamou Iota Runners

estival Tee-Mamou Iota Folk Life F

Crowley’s Carnival d’A cadie

Supplement to The Crowley Post-Signal • Sunday, March 13, 2011


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SUNDAY, MARCH 13, 2011

THE CROWLEY POST-SIGNAL

The wear and tear of Mardi Gras on a four-decade veteran BY HOWELL DENNIS NEWS EDITOR

I’ve been a veteran of many Mardis Gras during my four plus decades on this planet. I’ve done Mardi Gras in Lafayette (dozens of times), New Orleans (also dozens), Biloxi, Miss. and Memphis, Tenn. (they actually throw quite a party on Beales St.). Now that I’ve done the last four in Crowley and Iota I must say that it’s been pretty nice not having to wait in line to use a nauseating port-o-let or going home with New Orleans party gravy (what I call that brown substance that

mysteriously covers your socks in the Big Easy) all over my legs - even though I had some mud on me this year. With all of those Mardis Gras under my belt, of course I have dozens of crazy memories I could tell you about and, of course, several I can’t. However, one thing I’ve noticed over the years is how much I’ve gradually slowed down. No way I could do things these days the way I did when I was younger. Twenty years ago I caught every possible Mardi Gras function I could possibly fit into a five-day span. My schedule on Mardi

THE POST-SIGNAL / Howell Dennis

The rains subsided just in time for Tuesday’s parade and crowds began trickling out of the covered areas on Crowley’s main street to catch beads and have some Mardi Gras fun. Fresh Old Time Crackling Every Saturday!

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1 mile west of Iota on Hwy. 98 • Iota, LA 70543 Mon. - Fri. 8:00 am-5:00 pm • Sat. 8:00 am - 12 Noon

Gras weekend always went something like this: Friday, Saturday and Sunday in New Orleans. On Friday night we’d hit the Quarter and get caught up in the massive flood of people who had just arrived in New Orleans from places all over the world. On one occasion we were walking down Bourbon St. and got to the part where the buildings on the side of the famed walkway (those of you who have been there before know where I’m talking about) get to be about ten feet closer to the road, making it more narrow. Unfortunately, the crowd wanted to keep moving at the same pace and suddenly we were all packed together really tight. At one point the force of the crowd pushing against us lifted us off of our feet and moved us about 20 feet to the left. Pretty scary feeling looking back on it. On Saturday we’d hit the Endymion parade followed by Bacchus on Sunday. And it wasn’t like we weren’t just laying around our hotel waiting for parades to come during the days. On Monday, I’d come back to Lafayette for the Queen’s Parade on Monday followed by Fat Tuesday and all the parades that come with it. One of the things I never liked about Lafayette’s Mardi Gras are all the fights I would see throughout the course of the day. And it wasn’t like they were confined to a particular part of town - they happen every where. The trick is to find one good spot to hang out with your friends and stay there all day. The more walking you do the greater the chance of running into trouble is. So basically it used to be non-stop for four days for me. I compared that to what I did this past Mardi Gras weekend and the difference is astonishing. For one thing, it takes a lot to get me to do anything on work days. Things can get pretty hectic in the Crowley Post-Signal editorial department to say the least. At the end of each day all I want to do is go straight to my sofa - by way of the Geaux Cup’s drive thru - and relax. So Friday night I told myself I was going to relax that night and maybe do something fun on Saturday. Saturday morning arrives. I was actu-

ally able to sleep in a bit for a change. I awake to my phone ringing at 10:45 a.m. It was Lisa Soileaux from the Rayne Tribune calling to tell me about the tragic tornado which hit Rayne Saturday morning. I jumped out of bed, put on a cap, drank some mouthwash and rushed to work. The entire day was non-stop with people calling from The Weather Channel, NBC, ABC and CBS wanting our pictures. I basically spent nine hours at work that day and was worn out by the time I got home. “O.K., no big deal,” I told myself. “I’ll relax tonight and get up and have a little fun on Sunday.” Sunday rolls around. I get up telling myself that I’m going to get out and do something fun that day. I move from my bedroom to the sofa and watch a little TV. I take my puppy for a walk down to Hoffpauir Park by my house. I get home and do some push ups and sit ups (a New Year’s resolution I’ve actually kept). I jump into the shower with all the positive energy I thought I needed to get me off my tail. I get out of the shower and .... You know something? I had no excuse. I just flat out didn’t feel like doing anything. Where had all my energy gone over the past two decades? “Oh well, no big deal,” I told myself. “I’ll just place extra emphasis on enjoying Fat Tuesday (our office closed early that day) after work while I’m out getting pictures for the paper.” Fat Tuesday arrives. To begin with, we had to work extra hard that morning so that we could get the paper out by noon (our deadline that day). I was a little tired when I got off of work but I knew I HAD to go downtown and get some pictures of the parade so I made myself go downtown. I even tried to get into the ‘spirit’ a bit by grabbing a six-pack on the way there. I don’t know if it was some kind of sign but I noticed my stomach was feeling upset after only a couple of cold ones. I started drinking Coke. “On a Fat Tuesday, you kidding me?,” I remember thinking. I got my pictures went home, watched a movie and was asleep by 8 p.m. “Oh well, no big deal,” I told myself. “Mardi Gras comes again next year.”


SUNDAY, MARCH 13, 2011

THE CROWLEY POST-SIGNAL

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THE POST-SIGNAL / Howell Dennis

Throughout Acadia Parish Mardi Gras celebrations take place, but only in places like Crowley can the older traditions, such as the Mardi Gras run, blend perfectly with the parade which includes city and Mardi Gras royalty.

THE POST-SIGNAL / Howell Dennis

Crowley’s Carnival d’Acadie is a great family Mardi Gras outing for the area and “le Krewe de moo-la” shows that off involving people of all ages on their parade float. The Krewe was also well prepared for the earlier rain with hats to keep their heads as dry as possible.

Lafayette New IberIa OpeLOusas

CrOwLey abbevILLe ChurCh pOINt

Broussard, Poche, Lewis & Breaux C e r t i f i e d P u b l i C A C C o u n tA n t s

THE POST-SIGNAL / Howell Dennis

This group knew how to keep dry: have a roof on your float. Earlier in the day, the Crowley parade may have been a dud, but these folks were ready for just about anything, and despite getting a little wet they were ready to party with the crowd as the parade rolled down Historic Parkerson Ave. Tuesday afternoon.

www.bplb.com

103 N. Avenue F • Crowley, LA • 783-5693


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SUNDAY, MARCH 13, 2011

THE CROWLEY POST-SIGNAL

THE POST-SIGNAL / Angela Becnel

The chicken chasing involves a strange combination of speed and patience. Here, the Mardi Gras stalks the chicken before capturing it once and for all.

THE POST-SIGNAL / Angela Becnel

The children’s Mardi Gras group has their own moment at the Folklife Festival. The group chants and chases coins on the main bandstand.

JohnPac Inc., formerly Louisiana Bag Company & LAPAC

783-5466

Everything above the pallet

Congratulations to the 2011 Krew e of Town Revelers King, Queen and Court!

THE POST-SIGNAL / Angela Becnel

While children have their own run, that doesn’t mean they don’t get involved in the Mardi Gras day events. So as the older folks go around town, the children watch.

THE POST-SIGNAL / Angela Becnel

The final big event of the day is the return of the Mardi Gras through town as they parade down Iota’s main street. They are met with a crowd of spectators.

Town Club

625 Crowley-Rayne Highway 783-1432 Call for membership information.

Congratulations to our very own...

King Cimmer LVI Marvin Constantin

Queen Becky Lamm


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Original Mardi Gras has its roots in France SUNDAY, MARCH 13, 2011

BY ANGELA BECNEL LIFESTYLES EDITOR

IOTA - Many of the south Louisiana ancestry dates back to France. In fact Mardi Gras began in 1760 in France as King Louis XVI would select the wealthy men and women to serve as maids and dukes at his elaborate balls before the Lenten season. There were parades where the ladies threw real pearls and the men threw monetary coins to the peddlers and peasants reveling on the streets. This is where the traditions of the groups called Krewes of Bacchus and Endymion in New Orleans, Krewes of Gabriel and Bonaparte in Lafayette and Krewe of Town Revelers in Crowley base their form of celebration with balls and parades. But, back in the late 1750s, when King Louis XVI held elaborate balls, the poor peasants were allowed to go to the site of ball the day before, in their rags, to collect ingredients for a meal. These Acadians were eventually exiled from France into Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and then in 1820 south Louisiana began its Mardi Gras celebrations. “This is where the Tee-Mamou Mardi Gras and the Iota Mardi Gras Festival Association come together to follow the Mardi Gras tradition sometimes referred to as the Mardi Gras of the poor folks,” said Larry Miller, president of the TeeMamou/Iota Mardi Gras Folklife Festival Association. “The festival, in its 24th year, was started to draw people in to see, hear and feel the unique Tee-Mamou Mardi Gras, which begins with the chicken run and ends here in downtown Iota.” “There are no beads thrown at this festival which is the first all local Cajun prairie Mardi Gras. University of Louisiana anthropologists subdivide Cajuns into three regions. They are called prairie Cajuns, bayou Cajuns, and forester, or thick woods, Cajuns,” explained Miller. “At the Tee-Mamou/Iota Mardi Gras Festival, you will find all local prairie Cajun food, such as crawfish maqcheaux, fried alligator, boudin balls and syrup pies. We also feature arts and crafts handmade by artists from Louisiana. Of course, Cajun

THE CROWLEY POST-SIGNAL

music as well,” concludes Miller. “We at the Crowley Art Association made a conscience decision to support this festival,” said artist Robert Baxter, president of the Crowley Art Association. “Supporting all artists in Acadia Parish, we brought an entire exhibit from The Gallery in Crowley called ‘The Spirit of the Chicken.’ “Over 50 artists are involved, sharing their version of the plight of the Cajun chicken.” One of the most famous events associated with the Tee-Mamou/Iota Mardi Gras Folklife Festival is the chicken run. However, it is not the only antics and festivities the Mardi Gras cooks up for the big day, which despite the weather, was a great success this year. It is all part of what has made the Folklife Festival a unique niche in Acadia Parish’s Mardi Gras celebrations. The chicken run began early in the morning on Mardi Gras day at the, Garbers’ home, a local farmer, with a traditional chant. The Mardi Gras then jumped into their trailer and run over to David and Peggy Frey’s home in TeeMamou where a chicken was thrown in the yard for chasing. The captain, Todd Frugé alongside his young son, Connor, lead the Mardi Gras to his late father’s home. The late Gerald Frugé was captain of the Tee-Mamou Mardi Gras for 27 years. The Mardi Gras starts to chant and holler and climb on the flagpole while the American flag blew in the breeze of the luminous storm approaching. Next, the Mardi Gras walked somberly down the road to Reed Cemetery where the group paid homage to Gerald Frugé at the site of his headstone. “Mardi Gras was my dad’s favorite time of year,” recalls Captain Todd Frugé. The Mardi Gras jumped back into the trailer and continues to a few more destinations to run after chickens, rice and money for ingredients to make a gumbo, making their way to downtown Iota. The Mardi Gras also brings their own Cajun band that provides the musical entertainment for the entire event. While waiting for the Mardi Gras

to arrive at the festival, visitors from Opelousas, Paul and Joyce Matherne, mingled with Ruthie Theriot who came from Baton Rouge for the day. The Cajun band, Tepetate, played music while others danced. Larry Trahan, sales representative at the Crowley Post-Signal and his wife, Esther, were enjoying entertaining guests Bill and Jane Frobose of Denver, Colo. More and more people arrived throughout the day; some wanting to share the traditions with a younger generation. Sue Menout came to Iota’s Mardi Gras Festival to share the festival with her two grandchildren, Anna and Aiden Theriot, all of Sulphur. It wasn’t just festival go-ers that had a fun and successful day, though. The Iota VFC was successful in the sale of pralines. Additionally, Jeff Aucoin from Belle River, La. displayed and sold his carved cypress driftwood from the Atchafalaya Basin.

“I look at the wood piece before beginning to carve and I let the wood’s shape and form tell me what it will become in its finished form,” advised Aucoin. Jeanie Sabastian of Nebraska, visiting Pam and Kenneth Navarre Sr. and Kenneth III all from Rayne, waited anxiously for the Mardi Gras to arrive. Richard Lightsey, Ph.D. from Memphis, Tenn. came to Iota to dance. “The Iota Mardi Gras Festival Association decided 24 years ago to honor the Tee Mamou Mardi Gras with this festival in downtown Iota, and it has worked,” explained Miller. “Now they have increased visibility as well as membership. Also, a children’s group and a women’s group has formed. “They feel that what they do to honor what their ancestors started in 1890 is important.” Both the children and women’s groups have different runs during the weekend prior to Mardi Gras each year.

Thanks and Congratulations to all Mardi Gras Krewes and Courts.

425 N. Ave. G. • Crowley, LA • 783-0412

Member FDIC


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SUNDAY, MARCH 13, 2011

THE CROWLEY POST-SIGNAL

PETRY PHOTOGRAPHY

Members of the 2011 Krewe of Town Revelers Court included, first row from left, pages, Bailey Sittig, Grant Suire, Joseph Landry and Julia Patin; second row, maids, Kim McFarlian Diebel, Barbara Prejean Schexneyder, Cathy Broussard Savant, Nicole Broussard Swacker, Denise Dugan Maddie and Radona Hanks Leonberger; third row, dukes Scott Lowry, Brian Borill and Dwayne Fulton, King Cimmer LVI Mark Anthony Constantin and Queen Cimmer Rebecca “Becky” Broussard Lamm and dukes Danny Nugier, Alan Lawson and Keith LeLeux.

Revelers crowns new royalty, has a ‘wild’ good time at ball

CROWLEY – The Krewe of Town Revelers 56th Carnival Ball and Pageant was staged on Saturday, March 5 at the Rice Festival Building in Crowley. The theme of the event was “The Wild Side of Cimmer,” with Marvin Anthony Constantin reigning as King Cimmer LVI and Rebecca “Becky” Broussard Lamm reigning as his queen. Constantin is the son of the late Maurice

Constantin and Etta Melancon Constantin. He is married to the former Nettie Trahan. Their children are Monte Winchester, married to Missy Miller Winchester, Barry Constantin, and Denise Constantin. The Constantins have four grandchildren: Kasey, Remi, Kassie, and Kaenon. Queen Rebecca “Becky” Broussard Lamm is the daughter of Ernie P.

Congratulations on your Mardi Gras celebrations

NursiNg rehabilitatioN CeNter 804 Crowley - Rayne Hwy. • Crowley, LA 70526 • 783-2740

Broussard and Sylvia Sellers Broussard of Estherwood. She has three children: Brant, married to Khristy Hensgens Lamm; Jason, married to Paula Coignaird Lamm; and Brittany, married to David Meagher. She has 10 grandchildren: Josie, Kaizer, Zachary, John William, Austin, Taylor, Justin, Jackson, Parker and Braxton. The evening began with the introduction of past kings and queens and the returning 2010 court of King Cimmer LV, John Elliot Doré, and his queen, Laurie Myers Suire. The ball was dedicated to the late Dr. Ernest Petitjean Jr., King Cimmer VIII. Emcees Jay Suire and Angie Goff welcomed the audience to an adventurous evening as the ballroom filled with exotic animals, dancers and a tribe of witchdoctors. The Showstoppers performed their first dance of the evening to “Tribal Dance.” The Town Club Revelers then appeared as a tribe to dance and entertain to “Witchdoctor,” while the royal court pages stewed in a large cauldron. After their escape from the cauldron, the pages entertained the crowd. This year’s to the king and queen pages were Joseph Landry, Julia Patin, Grant Suire and Bailey Sittig. With trees and foliage throughout the entry and ballroom, a revolving stage set the scenes as the royal court of King Cimmer LVI, Marvin Anthony Constantin, ruled from the Amazon rainforest to the Serengeti plains. After their introductions and promenade, the King, Queen and pages took their places on the court’s stage representing a lion’s den against the backdrop of an

African sunset. As other exotic locales were explored, royal dukes and maids were presented--a jungle of wild animals and adventurers. Making up this year’s court were, wildlife photographer Scott Lowry; gazelle maid Kim McFarlain Diebel; river guide Keith LeLeux; barracuda maid Radona Hanks Leonberger; exotic bird maid Barbara Prejean Schexneyder; birdwatcher duke, Brian Borill; big game hunter Alan Lawson; tigress Denise Dugan Maddie; crocodile hunter “Cajun Dundee,” Dwayne Fulton; crocodile Cathy Broussard Savant; missionary Danny Nugier; and zebra Nicole Broussard. The Showstoppers entertained once again, this time to “Black Cat.” Introductions were then made recognizing the evening’s entertainers. In addition to the Showstoppers and Revelers. Following the traditional 2011 Court Promenade there was a Grand March of the Courts of King Cimmer LVI and King Cimmer LV, a toast, and the court dance. Call out dances were followed by an invitation to all present to greet the new court and dance the night away. Director of this year’s presentation was Judy Guillot, Assistant Director Ellen Dailey and General Coordinator Claire Kelbaugh. Numerous other committee chairs for the ball helped put on and create this year’s spectacle. Other events also celebrated the new king and queen including luncheons as well as past kings and queens before and after the celebration.


SUNDAY, MARCH 13, 2011

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Mardi Gras fun for the young and young at heart THE CROWLEY POST-SIGNAL

THE POST-SIGNAL / Jeannine LeJeune

SUBMITTED PHOTO

At their recent Mardi Gras program, the Acadia Council on Aging crowned their queen and were entertained by members of the Egan Mardi Gras. Among those in attendance were, from left, Paul Miller, Lou Trahan, Queen Inest Hanks, Terrie Miller and Raymond Dohmann.

Ross Head Start’s annual Mardi Gras parade gives the students the opportunity to catch beads and other Mardi Gras trinkets from city and school officials.

THE POST-SIGNAL / Jeannine LeJeune

Estherwood Head Start’s Mardi Gras parade gave head start students the chance to throw beads and candy to all Estherwood Elem. students, most of which walked away with something from the parade.

Congratulations to the Annual Tee-Mamou/Iota Mardi Gras Festival

D.I.’s Cajun Restaurant

THE POST-SIGNAL / Jeannine LeJeune

Southwind Assisted Living’s Mardi Gras Family Night was invaded by the Krewe de Foo and a good time was had by all as they danced to Cajun music.

Miller’s Family Pharmacy

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THE CROWLEY POST-SIGNAL

SUNDAY, MARCH 13, 2011

A peaceful community full of history. A welcoming place where people know your name. A unique, thriving city in the heart of Cajun Country. From small-town family fun to big-city glitter, Crowley offers easy access to it all.

Mayor & Board of Aldermen

Mardi Gras Memories 2011  

A supplement to AcadiaParishToday.com