While the "big cities" in Louisiana, like New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, and Lafayette all have Mardi Gras krewes, parades, balls, etc., the smaller rural towns have a festive Mardi Gras tradition of their own.
Beginning early in the morning on Fat Tuesday, the local Mardi Gras captain in these small towns leads his Courir de Mardi Gras through town and countryside. Typically, these revelers, usually somewhat drunken, ride horseback, but in modern times some communities use flatbed trucks so that the children of the family may be safely included. The purpose of the courir, or ride, is to collect ingredients from throughout the area to create a communal supper for the evening.
As the group arrives at each home, the captain asks permission to enter, and then the revellers beg, sing, dance, or jump through whatever hoops the landowner devises to convince them to offer an ingredient for the gumbo. They move from house to house, collecting whatever ingredient each home can provide, until mid afternoon, when they parade through the main street to the town square (all Cajun towns have one!) to cook the gumbo. Around sunset, all the townspeople come out to the square to eat, drink, and be merry until midnight, when Fat Tuesday gives way to Ash Wednesday, and lent begins.
Doesn't that sound like a blast?! Queen Ginger has never lived in a town small enough to have a courir, but it sure seems like a great way to celebrate Mardi Gras, wherever you are in the world!! Who's going to create a courir in their neighborhood?