I was born and raised in the boot and miss home on the daily, but there’s one time of year when my heart aches for home the most. MARDI GRAS!
Mardi Gras is actually based out of religious traditions and is basically a big ole gluttonous party that happens before everyone has to fast for Lent. I think most people associate Mardi Gras with New Orleans, but the tradition can be found all over the world with different variations to the history and practice (think Shrove Tuesday and pancakes in England). Of course, New Orleans turned it into something much wilder with parades and balls and debauchery in all kinds of excess.
Each year I find myself immensely home sick as I see friends and family posting photos of their Mardi Gras shenanigans. As a Texas transplant, I’ve learned over the years how to celebrate the holiday in my own way. It’s certainly not the same, but you don’t have to be in the Big Easy to have some fun (or eat King Cake!). So without further ado, here are some of the ways I pay homage to Fat Tuesday each year:
- I decorate! I think it’s a major sign of being raised in the South when you have a wreath on your door 365 days a year. Christmas ends and out comes the Mardi Gras wreath (then Valentines and Easter and so on) And wreaths aren’t the only way to spruce up your house with Mardi Gras fun. I always like to throw some beads in a vase and call it pretty. Or some folks even keep their Christmas tree around and redecorate it Mardi Gras style. The options are limitless!
- I dress up! It certainly helps that my alma mater provides me with a plethora of purple and gold attire. Throw on some green beads and I’m a Mardi Gras queen. Since having children, I relish in finding them the perfect Mardi Gras outfit each year. They may not of been born in the boot, but that won’t keep me from letting the world know their mama was!
- I eat King Cake! I have yet to find a King cake in Texas I love. I may be biased, but the Louisiana folks just do it better. There have been a few years here and there where the hubs or a family member has had one of my faves shipped (Meche’s and Randazzo’s are to die for!), but that’s hella expensive. Most years I like to make my own. Holly Clegg has an easy peasy recipe using crescent rolls that I LOVE! You should try it!
- I eat Cajun & Creole food! Again, I’m kind of a snob when it comes to Louisiana food and firmly believe my peeps do it better, but one place in Austin does a pretty decent job, Evangeline Café. The Crawfish Evangeline is pretty nom! I mostly make my own grub at home though. Crawfish etoufee and pastalaya (my stepmoms recipe) are two staples in our house. And if all else fails go buy a box of Zatarrains and call it a day!
- I find local happenings! Mardi Gras has become a fairly wide spread celebration so really no matter where you live, there is likely to be some sort of celebration going on. Here are a few things going down in the coming days in good ole Austin, TX:
- If you are kid free and still able to keep your eyes open past 9pm then take a stroll down 6th street come Fat Tuesday. People dress up and throw beads and act all kinds of foolish. Plus, most of the bars have drink/food specials too.
- Another late night good time is at the Highball on S Lamar. They are having a Mardi Gras celebration on February 9 where you can catch the band Gumbo Ya Ya from 7:30-9:30 PM and then stay even later for Tittie bingo from 10:00 PM-midnight. Yep, you read that right, but what’s Mardi Gras without some boob?
- A more kid friendly option is Central Market on N Lamar. The Austin Cajun Aces will provide tunes while Chef Guilbeau will be cookin up authentic Cajun food on Saturday, February 6 from 6:30-9:00 PM.
- Another kid friendly option is Pinballz Arcade Party Gras. FREE beads, tokens, and beer (for the adults only duh). Definitely a little fun for the whole family!
There ya have it. I may not be able to celebrate in a traditional sense every year, but I can still find ways to participate from afar. So go forth. Eat, drink and Laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll)!
How do you celebrate Mardi Gras???