Authentic Cajun Mardi Gras Costumes, Masks & Traditions features costumes from the 1940s and '50s and a variety of masks, some dating back to the late 1800s. Two captain's capes hang on the museum's wood wall, one pink with "Captain" written in gold, the other less extravagant in orange and black with a wide sailor-like collar. The pink cape belonged to Nelson Godeaux and the black and orange one to Hillman Smith. "Hillman was a throwback to the early Mardi Gras in Eunice," says Manuel. "He passed away recently and had been doing it for 70-80 years. Nelson worked with Hillman."
While captains wore the traditional cape and capuchon ' tall pointed hat ' the rest of the Mardi Gras participants made their own colorful costumes trimmed in fringe. Disguise was the main function of the outfit, and some screen masks in the exhibit are trimmed with hair for eyebrows and mustaches.
Cajun Mardi Gras costumes haven't evolved or changed much over the years. "It's still the fringed costume, pajama-like, made out of feed sacks and leftover work clothes," says Manuel. "There was no color combination. There are no standard colors in Cajun Mardi Gras. We couldn't afford to have colors." The screen masks were available in catalogs around the country, possibly for Halloween, and were available for sale in Opelousas, says Manuel. Her guess is that locals couldn't afford them and made their own.
There's no official written history of Mardi Gras in Eunice, but the exhibit includes an account by fiddle player Napoleon Fruge, who claims he started Mardi Gras in 1910, because he was the only one who could sing the songs. While Fruge's claim should be taken with a grain ' or a full shaker ' of salt, his descriptions of costumes, masks and Mardi Gras roles still ring true today. "The captain of each Mardi Gras group would walk across the field with their white flag on a bamboo cane, but always with discipline and respect," he wrote. "The captain is and was boss."
The Eunice Depot Museum is located at 220 S. CC Duson St. in Eunice. Authentic Cajun Mardi Gras Costumes, Masks & Traditions will be on display through March 31. Call 457-6540 for more info.
New menu items ready for the Lenten season
The Cane Fire Film Series screens “MaidenTrip” on Monday, March 10, at the AcA.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The vibe of the tribe done modern
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,125 from the previous week's total of 1,964. There were 2,887 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
She’s the daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, but she’s been a gifted artist in her own right for three decades, and she’s coming to Lafayette.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Prepare yourselves for sun
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
Due to the chaos of Mardi Gras and the weather, the entry deadline for this year's INDesign Awards has been extended by one week.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
Queen Evangline and King Gabriel ruled Tuesday night
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
IND Style does Gabriel
Newsy bits for the fam
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.