Every Mardi Gras the Iota community celebrates with the Tee Mamou-Iota Mardi Gras Folklife Festival.
Between the food, crafts, music and chicken run, the 31st Annual Tee Mamou-Iota Mardi Gras Folklife Festival is all about Cajun traditions. The festival’s association president, Eric Miller says, “One of the reasons the festival actually got started was we wanted to help preserve and promote the Tee Mamou Mardi Gras that run in the country and give them more recognition coming into town.”
The experience of going back in time is the reason why the Duponts wanted to stop by this year. Blaine Dupont says, “We decided to go ahead and wear our traditional Mardi Gras outfits today to show our support to towns like tee mamou that are doing these festivities for people not only for locals like us, but people coming from out of state.”
For some like Susan Fontenot and her daughter Rachel Crochet, who sell Mardi Gras Dolls, this festival also carries family traditions. Crochet says, “Our Aunt did it for 30 years. We’ve always been involved in it and Aunt Jackie it’s all family so to be a part of it not just come walk through it to see it is awesome.” She says sharing their family and region’s culture on Mardi Gras day is an honor. “A lot of people from all over the United States come even Canada sometimes you get people from France come down here, just for this. It’s a little town and the fact that they’ve ever heard of it.”
Above all else, this festival is a reminder of how important it is to keep the Cajun culture alive. Karen Dupont says, “Heritage is all we can offer to our kids and our little family growing up behind us, tradition and generations to come that’s what it’s all about to keep the culture alive.”