LaGrange prepares for Mardi Gras celebration
By Melanie Ruberti
LaGRANGE – For a few, brief hours on Saturday, the city will be transformed into a flashy, fun, New Orleans-style celebration.
The Krewe of Mask organization is holding the inaugural Mardi Gras parade through downtown LaGrange and party at Del’avant event center at 141 Main St.
“I grew up in New Orleans and Mardi Gras – and it was a lot of fun,” said Dr. Ken Gordon with the Krewe of Mask. “I thought it would be fun for LaGrange. I just enjoy the parade, throwing and catching beads … it brings a new level of fun to the area.”
The Krewe of Mask is sparing no expense and going all out to bring the Mardi Gras atmosphere to LaGrange. A warehouse at an undisclosed location houses at least three huge parade floats that are decked out with brightly colored beads, lights and mylar in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of green, gold and purple.
Boxes of shiny beads, decorative masks and tunics are also piled up in empty pockets of space around the building.
Gordon said in true Mardi Gras tradition, beads will be thrown from the floats to spectators waiting along the parade route.
But unlike the late night, mainly adult New Orleans celebration, the LaGrange version of Mardi Gras will be a family event.
“This (parade) is for the children,” said John Cashen with Krewe of Mask. “It is all about safety and keeping the spectators safe.”
The theme for the inaugural parade is Mardi Gras Around the World and will include 33 units that showcase the celebration from different countries, Cashen said. There will also be a stand for judges to vote on their favorite float.
Marching bands, musicians and many more organizations are expected to participate in the parade, said Cashen.
“We hope this event continues to grow and we can double the size of it next year,” he added.
“We expect the parade to be a positive thing for LaGrange and draw a crowd,” Gordon said. “This will be favorable for our city.”
The Krewe of Mask will host a Mardi Gras Party beginning at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $75. There will be two bands and folks will be allowed to view the parade from the rooftop of Del’avant.
All the money raised will go to Twin Cedars Youth and Family Services and the United Way.
The Mardi Gras Around the World parade will step off at 7 p.m. at Granger Park. It will follow the same route as the annual Christmas Parade in downtown LaGrange.
Anyone wanting to buy tickets can purchase them at Merle Norman, the Marketplace, Turnisol and Red Door Antiques. For more information, contact John Cashen at 706-333-6501.
Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She can be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.