Plenty to celebrate in LaGrange

Published 7:33 pm Sunday, February 4, 2018

On Saturday, the Krewe of the Mask hosted the second annual Mardi Gras parade in LaGrange. The parade was brought to the area by those who moved to LaGrange in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, but locals have already taken to the event, which features a comparable number of entries to the city’s annual Fourth of July parade.

Of course, the tradition of Mardi Gras goes back — to before New Orleans saw the first European settlers — to Rome in the early days of Christianity. There it was used as a celebration leading up to Lent when Christians traditionally commit  to 40 days of fasting and penance between Ash Wednesday and Easter.

In the days before refrigeration, that meant that foods like meat, eggs, lard and cheese that were often sworn off during Lent needed to be eaten, or they would go bad. The feast where all these foods were eaten became known as Fat Tuesday, which translates to Mardi Gras in French.

The first American celebration of Mardi Gras took place near present day New Orleans in 1699, and began its journey to the parade and celebration that we know of today in 1827, according to

Similar celebrations to New Orleans’ famous Mardi Gras are held all over the world in areas sharing that Christian heritage including celebrations in Brazil and Venice.

Here in LaGrange, the celebration was something a bit simpler than that history though. It was a desire to celebrate with friends, neighbors and even a few new faces in downtown LaGrange.

There is a lot to celebrate here in LaGrange after all. Hundreds of new jobs are expected to come to the area with major manufacturers in the near future. Our sleepy little town has played host to major acts like Willie Nelson and the Beach Boys in the last two years, and this year’s line up at Sweetland Amphitheatre is scheduled to be released later this month.

There are more places to shop and more places to eat than ever before, but a week rarely passes where someone doesn’t mention the “hometown feel” that LaGrange still maintains.

As the parade wound its way down Main Street, people called out to friends in the parade and shared the beads and coins that they caught with children in the crowd.

No, it wasn’t a New Orleans celebration. It was ours, and isn’t that something to celebrate all by itself?