2018 Lundi Gras evening dances in Eunice and Mamou
This year, I decided to spend Lundi Gras evening on the move, photographing six bands at dances in Eunice and Mamou.

I began with the Pine Leaf Boys at the Eunice street dance about 7:30 pm and ended back in Eunice about 11 pm to catch Travis Matte and the Kingpins performing their last song, “Zydeco Train.” After photographing the Pine Leaf Boys in Eunice, I drove to Mamou to photograph Jeremy and the Zydeco Hot Boyz on the north end of Sixth Street and Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie on the south end beside the traffic light.

My next stop was the Holiday Lounge, where participants in the next day’s Faquetigue Courir were invited to a dance with music by Kyle Huval and the Dixie Club Ramblers. Although I have passed by this famous landmark on the outskirts of Mamou many times, this was my first time to go inside. I only had time to take photos of the band amid a magical array of colored lights. It was so packed I couldn’t look around much, but I did stop by the next day to take a photo of the exterior while on my way back to Eunice from the Mamou Courir. Established in 1958 by T-Ed Manuel, it has been celebrated in the band Charivari’s song “Le Holiday” (with Randy Vidrine on vocals) and in the title cut on the Mamou Playboy’s Christmas EP, “Party at the Holiday All Night Long” by Steve Lafleur.

From there, I headed back down Highway 13 to photograph Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys performing before the largest crowd ever to attend a barn dance at Lakeview Park. (A traffic tip: law enforcement was patrolling Highway 13 and issuing speeding tickets.)

It was a chilly evening, as the attire worn by band members suggests, but Mardi Gras revelers didn’t seem to mind. In addition to the places I visited, venues all over Southwest Louisiana had dances and other celebrations.

I used available light for street dances in Mamou where the band trailers were illuminated by greenish, low power spotlights. The only alternative would have been to blind everyone with direct flash. The high ISO shots I took are essentially night vision photography. In Eunice, I struggled with sharp lighting contrasts and color casts while trying to photograph the Pine Leaf Boys. When I returned later and discovered that Travis Matte was on his last song, I decided to try bouncing flash off the front of the stage ceiling, which definitely helped.
In the two inside venues, I used low power bounce flash and high ISO to overcome shadows and back lighting issues.

For a listing of Cajun and Zydeco bands and Mardi Gras photos included on these Flickr pages, go to www.cajunzydecophotos.com or www.cajunzydecophotos.com/mobile.
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