Cajun Women and Mardi Gras: Reading the Rules Backward
Cajun Women and Mardi Gras is the first book to explore the importance of women's contributions to the country Cajun Mardi Gras tradition, or Mardi Gras “run.” Most Mardi Gras runs--masked begging processions through the countryside, led by unmasked capitaines--have customarily excluded women. Male organizers explain that this rule protects not only the tradition’s integrity but also women themselves from the event’s rowdy, often drunken, play.
Throughout the last century, and especially in the last fifty years, women in some prairie communities have insisted on taking more active and public roles in the festivities. Carolyn E. Ware traces the history of women's participation as it has expanded from supportive roles as cooks and costume makers to increasingly public performances as Mardi Gras clowns and (in at least one community) capitaines. Drawing on more than a decade of fieldwork interviews and observation in Mardi Gras communities, Ware focuses on the festive actions in Tee Mamou and Basile to reveal how women are reshaping the celebration as creative artists and innovative performers.
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Acadia Parish Agnes Miller Ancelet association’s Basile Mardi Gras Basile run Basile women Basile’s Berline Boone C’est hip Cajun French Cajun Mardi Gras Cajun music Cajun women capuchons Carl Lindahl cher chicken children’s run clown cocaptain cooks costumes country Mardi Gras courirs crossdressing Debbie Andrus drink Eunice Evangeline Parish female Mardi Gras festive fond d’hiver French gender Gerald Frugé girls gumbo Helena Putnam house visits husbands Ibid l’entour du fond LeJeune Linda Frugé Doucet male captains male Mardi Gras Mamou Mardi Gras Mamou women’s run Mardi Gras Association Mardi Gras dance Mardi Gras runs Mardi Gras song Mardi Gras suits Mardi Gras tradition maskers men’s run mother o’clock play Pointe Noire Potic Rider Renée Frugé Douget run Mardi Gras run’s Ruth Young says sing Susie Lopez Tee Mamou Mardi Tee Mamou women Tout à l’entour truck whips woman women’s Mardi Gras women’s run