Faquetigue Mardi Gras, Feb. 28, 2017
The Faquetigue Mardi Gras has instituted strict rules against non-participating spectators tagging along during their annual courir, so, since I usually try to photograph several runs on Mardi Gras Day, I haven’t been back to Faquetigue for several years because I didn’t want to spend most of the day on one run. In 2017, I finally decided it was time for me to become a participant in the Faquetigue courir.

As a Faquetigue Mardi Gras, I had to adhere to all of the rules, including kneeling in front of homeowners, kneeling with the other Mardi Gras when the homeowner prepared to throw a chicken, keeping my mask on while photographing, and following other commands of an unrelenting crew of enforcers whose badges read “Vilian” (vilain?). They included women dressed in devilish red and black and men portraying a menacing knight (wearing a Guy Fawkes mask?) and a rogue dressed like Bill the Butcher from the film “Gangs of New York.”

To avoid a whipping, I had to shoot all of the photographs in this set from the perspective of a Mardi Gras. I could not get shots from the homeowner’s point of view or stand on the side to shoot chicken chasing, but I have plenty of such photos from other runs. The Faquetigue run has its own unique vibe. Participants with many different backgrounds come from all over, dressed in a variety of creative costumes in addition to traditional rural Mardi Gras attire. Many musicians bring their accordions, fiddles, guitars, and other instruments, jamming together in circles scattered among the Mardi Gras at each stop. I also was able to take a series of photos showing the Mardi Gras attempting to climb a greased pole to release a chicken in a cage at the top.

When the run stopped at the cemetery where legendary fiddler Dennis McGee is buried, musicians played a song to celebrate his memory and all of Cajun culture. Before they played, Captain Jesse Brown gave a few remarks on the true meaning of the Cajun Mardi Gras, which, though it is a day to indulge in sensual excess, also focuses on charity and community. Within the Christian calendar, Mardi Gras offers a brief opportunity to revel in worldly pleasures, but the next day is Ash Wednesday, with its reminder that our life on earth is short, and we must turn during Lent toward preparing ourselves for the true and lasting salvation offered by Christ’s resurrection celebrated at Easter.

#Faquetigue #Faquetiguemardigras

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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