Beginning of new year signals official kick-off of SW La. Mardi Gras season

For Southwest Louisiana, the dropping of the New Year’s ball will mean the raising of Mardi Gras masks, as the ringing in of the new year signals the official kick-off of the 2022 Mardi Gras season.

Festivities for this year’s much-anticipated Mardi Gras event will begin next week, with sights of Mardi Gras magic on display beginning Wednesday, Jan. 5, in the form of an exhibit at the Imperial Calcasieu Museum, located at 204 W. Sallier St.

Costumes, shoes, crowns, masks, krewe banners and all things Mardi Gras will be on loan from the Mardi Gras Museum to the IMCAL Museum, and on Jan. 5 a grand reception will be held to mark the opening of the display. The reception will include a king cake tasting, Twelfth Night Revelers, live music, and more. The display will remain open through March 27.

On Thursday, Jan. 6, a special Twelfth Night Ceremony will be held on the front steps of the Lake Charles Civic Center at 5:30 p.m. where Mayor Nic Hunter will be cutting the Ribbons of Mardi Gras. The public is invited to attend the free event as Mayor Hunter will lead the Second Line Parade around the Civic Center grounds with the Twelfth Night Revelers, the reigning Twelfth Night King and Queen, and their goal court of Lords and Ladies. The Parade of the Krewe Flags with their coat of arms will be presented to the music of Billy Rose and his Dixieland Band.

The Mardi Gras Museum’s celebration will continue Friday night, Jan. 7, with the presentation of “Night at the Museum, Live” at the Lake Charles Civic Center’s Coliseum at 7 p.m. With an entry fee of $5 per person, guests will be able to enjoy the costumed parade of Krewes and entertainment, and will be given their own Mardi Gras “hankie” to wave during the 12th Night Second Line that will take stage on the Civic Center floor.

Performer T.J. Gautreaux and Louisiana Soul will provide live entertainment sure to bring everyone to the dance floor, and food and drinks will be available for purchase. Doors will open at 6 p.m., one hour ahead of the presentation. Tickets are available for purchase at Uniformly Fit, the Party Time Store, Joseph’s Electric and George’s House of Flowers in Sulphur. The event is being sponsored by Billy Navarre Auto Group and Phillips 66.

Celebrations on the Lake Charles Civic Center grounds will wrap up for the week on Saturday, Jan. 8, with the Mardi Gras of Southwest Louisiana’s Twelfth Night Car Show and Street Dance.

Beginning at 8 a.m., the public is invited to view the impressive cars on display and then to join in on the celebration with a street dance with the second line at noon. Music will be provided by a band or DJ for the public’s enjoyment until 4 p.m.

More information on the Mardi Gras celebration in Southwest Louisiana and a full list of events throughout Mardi Gras day, March 1, may visit www.swlamardigras.com. The information will be updated as the season progresses.

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