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.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday, April 17, 2014:
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
The must have pieces this season
Dave Perkins, LCG Comp Plan honored along with local architects and designers at the 2014 INDesign Awards
Greg Manuel’s Lafayette-based residential development company is taking advantage of exponential industrial growth in Lake Charles.
Longtime Lafayette retailer ventures online.
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Regional bank bids farewell to Downtown May 30
ABiz takes a look back at the most noteworthy moments for the local banking industry over the last year.
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Largest recruitment event in Acadiana returns May 21 to the Cajundome Convention Center
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Thanks to the inaugural 2012 INNOV8, a design for lifting heavy objects was brought to market.
The annual juried competition recognizes excellence in architecture, interior design and historic preservation in Lafayette and the five surrounding parishes.
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New hires, promotions, transfers in Acadiana business
The scion of a landmark Four Corners restaurant climbs back into Lafayette’s culinary scene as franchisee for a popular burger chain.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
His company bankrupt and being liquidated, the Lafayette businessman’s financial troubles are mounting.
Jefferson Street Pub continues its generous tradition with its 4th Annual Festival Preview Party this Thursday featuring Big Sam’s Funky Nation.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.