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Chickens, courirs and community: A look at Mardi Gras festivities in rural Louisiana

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Dwight Jodon
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William Mire, 5, caught the chicken at Lil’ Mardi Gras in Eunice, LA

New Orleans Mardi Gras might be synonymous with krewes, floats and throws, but in more rural areas of the state, Carnival celebrations include riding horseback, catching chickens and singing call-and-response French songs.

Dr. Barry Ancelet, Professor Emeritus of Francophone Studies and Center for Louisiana Studies Research Fellow at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, tells us more about Cajun Mardi Gras customs.

But perhaps no rural Mardi Gras celebration is more well known than the chicken chase. And in Eunice, children get a chance to catch a chicken of their own during Lil’ Mardi Gras.

Eunice City Marshal Terry Darbonne and Eunice Director of Tourism and Main Street Alicia Mire tell us more about the history of this event.

Today’s episode of Louisiana Considered was hosted by Patrick Madden and Stephanie Grace. Our producer is Alana Schreiber and our digital editor is Katelyn Umholtz. Our engineers are Garrett Pittman, Aubrey Procell, and Thomas Walsh. 

You can listen to Louisiana Considered Monday through Friday at 12:00 and 7:30 pm. It’s available on Spotify, Google Play, and wherever you get your podcasts. 

Louisiana Considered is made possible with support from our listeners. Thank you!

Karen Henderson is an award-winning journalist whose stories have aired nationally on NPR.
Alana Schreiber is the managing producer for the live daily news program, Louisiana Considered. She comes to WRKF from KUNC in Northern Colorado, where she worked as a radio producer for the daily news magazine, Colorado Edition. She has previously interned for Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul and The Documentary Group in New York City.