Dear Mardi Gras, Dallas Needs Lagniappe

Posted by    |    January 23rd, 2012 at 12:05 pm

For some reason, DFW can support an attendance of 100,000+for its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, but it seems that Dallasites can’twrap their heads around the concept of Mardi Gras. 

For several years now Dallashas tried in vain to get a Mardi Gras-style parade going. My wife and I havebeen to N’awlins many times for Mardi Gras and we attended Dallas’ 2009“Mystiqal” parade, which wrapped around Victory park, and the 2010 “Mardi GrasTexas Style” parade that went down Main Street and ended up in the West End.The latter seemed to have a looser structure and felt more like New Orleans thanthe first, but that was the end of Dallas parades! What the hell? EvenGalveston does a better job at Mardi Gras than we do! (see

Mardi Gras at Galveston’s “Strand”

Ok, I know you get the “drinking” thing; I can see that; I knowyou like beads and the “throws” from the floats; that’s painfully obvious by allof the scrambling for the “CHEAP-ASS” tiny beads that the St.Patty’s day floatsthrow – Yeah, I’m talking to you GreenvilleAvenue Parade! Get some freakin’ “deluxes” to throw this year! I dare ya!!!I’ve grown up here so I know you can party, so why can’t you loosen up yourtight asses (and tops) and flash and schlog like a Cajun tourist on BourbonStreet? It’s the Mardi Gras spirit! There’s no fighting (stop one if you see itstaring), no jealousy (your girlfriend’s just showing her boobs, not givingthem away, and your boyfriend is just letting it hang out, it’s not detachable…I hope), there’s no crap! Just friends partying with friends that they may not havemet yet. There’s this whole cool and friendly vibe that’s created whenlike-minded people set out to attend the world’s largest party!

Now I can’t say that this is 100% Dallas’ fault. One of thereasons for the Mardi Gras parade push is the relative recent influx of formerNew Orleans natives into the Dallas area. OK, now I’m talking to the NOLAtransplants… You’ve brought this wonderful history, traditions, and world classrecipes with you, but these Dallasites need your guidance when it comes to the waysof Mardi Gras; they need lagniappe (alittle something extra). They just don’t get it!

Flashing (for girls), shlogging (for guys), and passing out (foreveryone) are actually a relatively recent developments in Mardi Grastradition, brought on largely by the location and reputation of New Orleans’French Quarter and Bourbon Street, a rather bawdy section of town, and by the steadilydropping age of the “Spring Break-ers” that has discovered Mardi Gras. This type ofbehavior doesn’t occur everywhere in New Orleans, primarily just in the FrenchQuarter.

The term “Mardi Gras” refers to a Catholiccelebration beginning on or after Epiphany and culminating on the day beforeAsh Wednesday, Mardi gras (French for Fat Tuesday). This refers to the practice of eating rich, fattyfoods before fasting for the Lenten (Lent) season begins on Ash Wednesday. Manyof the Mardi Gras traditions include the wearing of masks and costumes, KingCakes, huge social events, drinking, dancing, sports competitions, and paradesheld by Krewes.

A Krewe (pronounced “crew”) isan organization that puts on a parade or ball for the Carnival season. Krewemembers pay fees in order to cover parade and/or ball costs. Fees can rangefrom thousands of dollars a year for the most elaborate parades to as little as$20 for the smaller marching clubs. Some of the more notable Krewes are the Mistick Krewe of Comus,the Krewe of Proteus,Rex, the ZuluSocial Aid and Pleasure Club, and the Kreweof Momus. Krewes toss beads and other “throws” such as cups,coins, and the most prized of throws, hand-decorated coconuts.

While Dallas is certainlynot the king of Mardi Gras partying, there are definitely some good Mardi Grastimes to be had here in Big D. So let me offer up a few “Party Gras” ideas…

The 10th Annual Mardi Gras – TexasStyle (not to be confusedwith the 2010 parade)
February 18, 2012 – Sponsored by the WOLF 99.5 –Automobile Building Fair Park – 28 bands, 5 stages, 1 day – ‘nuff said!

The Rocky Horror Mardi Gras Show

Lakewood Theatre– February 10, 2012 – “See the immortal, immoral cult classic performed by alive professional cast!”  Doors open at 11 pm. There’ll be music,dancing, and pre-show festivities. Rocky begins promptly at Midnight.” Ticketsare $11. Prop Packs are $4. Note: Outsideprops are not allowed!

Lake Dallas Mardi GrasFat Tuesday, February 21, 2012 on MainStreet. Live music by the Nawlin’sGumbo Kings and a ‘Big Easy’ parade down thestreets of Lake Dallas.

Mardi Gras Oak Cliff Parade & Crawfish Boil
Mardi Gras Oak Cliff

Bishop Arts District, Oak Cliff – February 18-19, 2012 – Festivities includea “Dash for the Beads” a masquerade ball and a parade.

Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen

6130 Luther Ln. Dallas, TX 75225 – February 21, 2012 – Mardi Gras Party! Cajun buffet $30 per person, plus tax and 20% gratuity, complimentary hurricane, live music and drink specials all night – Dress up if you dare!

Nate’s Seafood and Steakhouse

14951 Midway Rd. Addison, TX 75001February 21, 2012 –Nate’s has been my Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday headquarters for the past five yearsor so. It’s crowded, loud, there’s live music, beads, booze, and fun! Get thereearly for a seat.

Dodie’s Cajun

A fewyears ago the Greenville location was your only option, but Dodie’s is thrivingand has taken over the old Hurricane Grill location and they have sevenlocations in North Texas serving up authentic Cajun food and some of the bestmud-bugs in the DFW area. They’re always having a good time during Mardi Gras!

Aligator Café
4416Live Oak Street Dallas, TX 75204 – Chef Ivan Pugh, a New Orleanstransplant has taken over an old fast food chicken restaurant and made it intoa homey, funky little gem of a Cajun restaurant, with the best alligator I’vehad in Dallas. The vibe is cool, the live blues is hot, and the beer isfreezing! (I literally had ice chips floating in my beer last time I was there!Perfect with my red beans and rice).
The Quarter
15201 Addison Rd.Addison, TX 75001 – Just North of Belt Line. Mardi Gras party on the 21st.Full menu served until 1:30 am. French Quarter themed bar and restaurant.


So starta Krewe, party with your friends, have some drinks, flash your things, get somebeads, stop a fight, make friends, get a King Cake, share a slice, and make theone who gets the little plastic baby (Wikipedia King Cake) pay for the rest ofthe drinks! Aieeeeeee! Throw me something Mister! Laissez les bons temps rouler(let the good times roll)!