Faces and Places of Acadiana: Grand Marais Mardi Gras - KLFY News 10

Faces and Places of Acadiana: Grand Marais Mardi Gras

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Louisiana's Mardi Gras celebrations are noted globally from the grand parades and balls in New Orleans to the rural celebrations called Courir de Mardi Gras or running of the chickens in Mamou.

But there's one celebration that most have never seen or even heard of and it's been going on for generations.

They are pretty and downright ugly. We're talking about the incredible handmade Mardi Gras costumes in Grand Marais, Louisiana, the grand marsh of the Vermilion Bay. And only here will you see this.

Lawrence Boutte grew up in the tradition of making the scariest and the prettiest costumes. It has passed through several generations. Most look like swamp creatures obviously inspired by south Louisiana's culture and landscape.

"Here's two guys fishing and one in the fish moving around so hopefully they catch him." said Jared Guillory.

In fact these incredible creations can reach nearly 15 feet and most have mechanical parts.

Boutte says it takes about one month working everyday for these and the pretty costumes at least two. This to compete in the days leading up to Fat Tuesday. And it's all neighbors and family competing against one another.

Joseph Sigue, a founding member of the Grand Marais Mardi Gras Association tells us this tradition dates back to the early 1900's and it includes these guys known in south Louisiana as bedons and capuchons. The bedon's have pointed hats and the capuchons are flatter.

"Legend has it bedon and capuchon were two brothers one stayed here and the other went up north to Eunice and that's my story and I'm sticking to it. said Sigue.

So whether it's ugly, pretty, clever or cute you can find it all in Grand Marais where competition is tough and the costumes simply amazing. A place where winners get a few hundred dollars in prize money but for them it's not about that.

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