March 1 commemorated Mardi Gras, and this year locals celebrated by heading to their favorite Cajun spots. Okies and Louisiana transplants take this opportunity to party, whether for religious reasons or just as another excuse to have a good time.
Shrove Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday, sometimes called Shrove Tuesday, commemorates the start of Lent, which is a Catholic tradition. On Ash Wednesday, Christians around the world give up something to prepare for Easter.
Leona Chapman is a Cherokee County resident who has lived in Louisiana for most of her adult life. After she and her husband retired, they decided to return home to Oklahoma, but they brought their Cajun spirit with them.
“During Lent, we don’t indulge, whether it’s chocolate or alcohol. And for us, it’s mostly chocolate and alcohol. You give it up until Easter,” she said.
Fat Tuesday is one last celebration of decadence before fasting.
“Mardi Gras means having a good time. Growing up in Lafayette, Mardi Gras festivals were all about going all out. Mardi Gras is a Catholic holiday. I’m not Catholic, but I help celebrate it. It’s going out of your system the day before you have to repent,” said Brandon Linney, co-owner of Linney Breaux’s.
Across Louisiana, residents celebrate over a long weekend, and the celebrations consist of parades with floats, parties, and family gatherings.
For years until 2020, Chapman participated in a Mardi Gras group, made up of artists and workers who create the floats that cross a city’s main street.
“You get up. We were riding on Sunday morning, and we were going to a lady’s house. It was an all-female group. We had a pot of okra and mimosas and king cake, and then we were getting ready to ride. We were going down around the bend, we would get on the floats and start rolling in. Between each of our floats, there was a group,” she said.
While the most famous Mardi Gras parade takes place in New Orleans, smaller parades dot the map of Louisiana. Chapman took part in a parade in his hometown of Morgan City, about 90 miles from The Big Easy.
“There were about 50 different high school groups. People lined up for a parade that lasted 15 minutes. They would go there, bring a barbecue and throw beads. It’s just wonderful. If you’ve never been there, then go. But don’t experience it in New Orleans. Go to a smaller town, like Lafayette or Morgan City,” she said.
Her husband, Frank Chapman, grew up in Oklahoma, but enjoyed vacations because they brought him in touch with neighbors and loved ones.
“It’s all about the family. It doesn’t matter how old you are. We get together and have a good time. At Mardi Gras, we talk about giving up something. Every weekend is a party, and Mardi Gras is one of the biggest. It’s about where you really need to figure out what you want to give up for 40 days. What can you do without? he said.
Mike and Delena Linney live in Muskogee, but support their children Brandon and Michael, owners of Linney Breaux, whom they raised in Louisiana.
“I taught them everything they know. We lived in Louisiana for 22 years and we adapted the culture. We love the culture and the camaraderie,” said Mike Linney. “It’s a religious tradition. Catholicism is quite strong in Louisiana. That’s where it comes from. In the days leading up to Lent, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, so today is Mardi Gras where you drink a lot.
Kroner & Baer kicked off the holiday Tuesday night with live music and Cajun food. Locals indulged in chicken and sausage gumbo, hurricanes, donuts and royal cake while listening to The Three Fs with Joe Mack.
Julian Cohenour and Morgan Grooms came to Kroner & Baer where they were able to celebrate Mardi Gras and their friend’s birthday at the same time. The warmer weather gave the two a chance to enjoy the outdoor space and make memories.
“It’s a beautiful sunny day. It’s nice to be outside,” Cohenour said.
Kroner & Baer and Linney Breaux’s will team up again for their fourth annual Crawfish Festival, taking place April 1-2. The event will feature a number of local musicians, as well as Cajun food. Meal tickets are on sale now.
“The benefit of buying in advance is that you save a few dollars per meal ticket,” Brandon Linney said. “It includes a two-pound crawfish boil, potatoes, corn on the cob, dipping sauce, and a soft drink of your choice.”
On the day of the event, meal tickets will cost $22, but currently they are $20 and can be purchased at the restaurant or on the event page, which can be found on Linney Breaux’s Facebook page at https:/ /www. .facebook.com/linneybreauxs.