Catch a chicken at the 38th annual Mardi Gras Run on Tuesday, February 9 at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 503 E Highway 90, in the town of Iowa. Doors open at 8 a.m., the Mardi Gras floats start lining up at 9 a.m. and the parade rolls at 10 a.m.
The parade goes west on Hwy 90 stopping at local businesses and continues going through neighborhoods with the horses following behind. The captain blows his whistle at participating homes for the crews to get down and dance to zydeco music, which is played with an accordion and scrub board. If the families approve the dancing skills, they donate ingredients to the gumbo, and a chicken is thrown into the air. Sometimes the captain will throw multiple chickens in the air several times or more for the children to catch.
The parade stops at Market Basket and the VF Factory Outlet where more chickens are released into the air. The parade continues to Rabideaux’s Sausage Kitchen, which is part of the Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail, for a last and final donation to the gumbo and ends back at the KC Hall. The ingredients are then put into a pot with the chickens, and gumbo is served to the riders while the children play from 2-4 p.m. The chicken run concludes with a zydeco dance.
In 1978, Willie Bushnell, his son Willis Bushnell, Griffin Victorian, Rogers Bellard, Boo-Zoo Chavis and their families started the Iowa run to keep their heritage and cultural traditions alive for their children and future generations to come. When Mr. Bushnell passed away his youngest daughter Helen Bushnell Morris and his oldest grandsons and granddaughters continued the tradition until 2009. The last several years, the eldest grandsons, Rodney Louis Victorian, Kimmy Bellard and their families have preserved the event.
The entry fee is $10 at the door for adults. The entry fee for children 12 and under is $5. For more information, please contact Rodney Victorian at (337) 842-1875 or Kimmy Bellard at (337) 884-1403.