The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
The annual chicken tossin’, fais-do-do Cajun tradition of the Courir du Mardi Gras will soon unfold in downtown Port Arthur.
The fun kicks off at 4:45 p.m. Thursday at Rosehill and will make stops at White Haven and the Pompeiian Villa on Lakeshore Drive and ending at the festival grounds.
The event will feature a masked horseman, portrayed by Joey Villemez, who will stop at each of the destinations and ask for ingredients for a communal gumbo. During each stop a rooster, not a chicken this year, will be set loose for children to chase.
The festivities also include a parade and possibly a Cajun music band performing on a flat bed trailer, Villemez said.
Floyd Marceaux, board member and treasurer of Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas, said the tradition dates back to rural Louisiana.
“Revelers on horseback would visit residences in the countryside begging for ingredients to make a gumbo. Back then it was sort of a threatening appeal, not like today in Port Arthur where it is a lot friendlier,” Marceaux said.
Villemez is pleased to carry on the Cajun Mardi Gras tradition in his hometown.
“I really enjoy it,” Villemez said of the tradition. “I enjoy watching the kids’ faces.”
The Mardi Gras fun continues inside the festival gates on Procter Street when J.A.G. hits the main stage at 6 p.m. and The Stark Experiment at 8 p.m. Gates close at 10 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased online at mardigrasportarthur.com or at the gate.