Mardi Gras Lafayette 2018

Your Guide to Carnival Season in Lafayette, Louisiana and the Acadiana area

Mardi Gras Words to Know


A Mardi Gras ball is an evening of colorful costumes, merry music and themed entertainment for th members of a krewe and their guests. Most balls are invitation-only affairs, while a few are open to the public. The year's royalty is traditionally presented during the ball.


The absolute leader of each krewe or Carnival organization.


From the Latin carnivale, loosely translated as "farewell to meat"; the season of merriment which begins annually on January 6, the Twelfth Night and ends at midnight on Fat Tuesday; the Carnival season leads up to the penitential season of Lent in which fasting replaces feasting.


The King, Queen, maids, and dukes of a Carnival organization are known as its Court.


A doubloon is an aluminum coin-like souvenir of a carnival krewe. It usually bears the name and crest of the krewe on one side and its theme of the year on the other. The ultimate souvenir of Carnival is a krewe's doubloon cast in metal or cloisonne'.


Fat Tuesday is also known as Shrove Tuesday, the last day before Lent. It is a day of merry-making, often marking the climax of a Carnival period.


A king cake is an oval, sugared pastry that contains a tiny plastic baby doll or bean hidden inside. Traditionally, the person who finds the doll in their slice of cake is crowned "king" and buys the next cake or throws the next party. See our Things to See and Do page for good sources of King Cakes. 


The term krewe is a generic term for all Carnival organizations. It was first used by the Mistick Krewe of Comus in New Orleans in 1857. The Lafayette area has well over fifty official krewes. Dozens of unofficial ones develop among groups of friends on Carnival weekends. 


French for "Fat Tuesday", the single-day culmination of the Carnival season. Today, the term is widely used to mean the whole Carnival season.  


In the African-American community, Carnival season is celebrated with an interesting twist. While there are krewes that hold parades and balls, some groups portray American Indians and are magnificently outfitted with handmade beaded and feathered costumes. This custom was adopted from the Mardi Gras Indian groups which originated in the 1950s in New Orleans. Lafayette has several neighborhoods tribes who display their finery on Fat Tuesday with a showdown for top Indian at Clark Field.                                                      .


Inexpensive trinkets tossed from floats by costumed and masked krewe members; among the more popular items are krewe-emblemed aluminum doubloons, plastic cups and plastic medallion necklaces.

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