Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Capuchons chasing chickens

One of my two Brown Leghorns!
photo credit: backyardchickens.com
(note: this chicken/rooster looks like a really good runner...watch out, if he's on a chicken run--but am guessing it might be they go for the hens for a gumbo on a Courir de Mardi Gras...)

Country Mardi Gras
would be Capuchons Chasing Chickens

If you can't make it out to the small towns outside of Lafayette, LA
then you can go to Vermilionville in Lafayette to see a mini-chicken run
or a Courir de Mardi Gras

Thanks to the Basile Krewe on Sunday for putting on the run
complete with the 2 fake chickens & the 1 real chicken

Then there was Gumbo, while there was music
you besides the sound of bells all over (as it's traditional to be covered in bells)

I say all this but I missed the main event & came at the tail end
I got gumbo, I heard the band, I heard the bells
I had a chicken run prank pulled on me

Was going up the steps to exit thru the giftshop
When I saw the last straggler group going up the stairs too
Asked them in general--Do you make your costumes?

There was a girl in big baggy cotton Saints (as in none other than the New Orleans Saints) pants with black fringe up & down the sides of the legs & a black either motorcycle bandana or welding bandana on her head & there were 2 men, 1 in a colorful matching top/bottom with cotton fringe & decorations on both--no one still had their mesh wire masks on or pointy hats called Capuchons & the other one was in white with reflective white strips all across it, he had the biggest loudest bells strapped on his wrists with leather straps...

One or both or all of them answer me--Scrubs
I said Yea Yea & they answered me in unison--Yea Yea (being funny)
They all looked tired & were moving slowly after running all morning
And yes they make their own, the 1 colorful top/bottom guy tells me it takes about a day & he lays it all out & sews it on--which I didn't expect, I would of thought a wife sewed it (but like Cajun Men who can Cook with the Best of Them I'm guessing they can Sew a Country Mardi Gras Costumes--because for one thing it is 'not' a Ball Gown?!) Still he did good...

Well while I was listening, I feel a tug on my arm, my hand, 1 of my 2 brown bags full of gumbo/ potato salad/ french bread roll/ rice from Mamman's Restaurant inside Vermilionville (if I'd missed the chicken run I wasn't going to miss out on the gumbo & was taking 2 orders home...)

I look at my bags & see a big leathery glove pulling on them & I hear on the other side a chicken noise, behind me, when I see the doggie/kitty kat carrier in front of me with the real chicken in it by one of the guys in costumes I was just talking to--so I know it's not the real chicken

Then I turn to my other side & see part way down the steps a full out costume for a chicken run--he has his capuchon on, his wire mask (that's painted kinda like a face) & there are bells somewhere...it's all blue & white...and he's made that very realistic chicken sound, he's begging like they do on the runs for food/money--I've read this before...too funny, I smile--then I tell him "What didn't they feed you some gumbo?" and then something like "You can't have my husband's gumbo, sorry--he would be mad I come home empty handed?!"

They all laughed & started moving on to the door, one of them held the door open for me--I saw his giant bells strapped on his wrist & he said something about the weather this January...it's been exceptionally warm, so in all these costumes & accessories I'm guessing all worn over their clothes too that they're really hot under all that, which wears you out more than running--but they were still smiling & joking around, they'd done a good deed for the day to come bring their chicken run to Vermilionville for all the town folk or tourists & not the usual country folk/farms/houses they go to on Mardi Gras

There were a lot of kids too in costumes I saw leaving, they had the whole get up on--capuchons on their heads, masks on their faces or were carring them or pulled up onto their capuchons (just like the grownups do) & their matching tops/bottoms with bells on somewheres...I especially liked the girl in her all red crawfish print & another girl sitting on the bench with her fake chicken--asked her "Did you catch that?" She said she had & she'd won--it looked like styrofoam with brown feathers glued all over stuck on a wood block...

Later I would see a Vermilionville staff person taking another such fake chicken off to a side building & asked her about them--she said there were 2, this 1 she was going to repair the tail feathers with some more glued on ones...but that there was another real chicken the Krewe from Basile had brought over by the building where there was dancing & music playing--I didn't see it then though until the stragglers at the end of the run were leaving, going up the stairs & for all I know they were probably the leaders of the pack/the Krewe

I can see why this would be fun--I've heard a lot of stories now about the real out in the Country Country Mardi Gras Runs or Courir, but have never gone...one of these years I will, maybe on a horse or a flatbed truck?!

Did hear there's an all girl Krewe, but that they're tough--someone said they'd never be able to keep up with them & for sure not with their beer drinking...as they'd seen a whole freezer full on the back of a flatbed truck that was going to follow something like 30/35 girls (you know I say girls but I mean women--there are 'not' beer drinking girls on Courir de Mardi Gras runs that I know of, even in Louisiana, in the country...)

Well I was there for research--we are going to try & make us some Capuchons for the Country Mardi Gras Costume Sale at Cite des Arts...there will be photos coming & of the sale too, so many old costumes from last year that the Krewe de Andalusia had stores & were going to toss--the theater got wind of this, came to the rescue with a trailer & loaded all the boxes up to bring to Cite des Arts & the unpacking began, then the hanging up, then the sale (then a spray or two of Frebreeze--stinky, after who knows how long stuffed in boxes in a room over a restaurant I think it was...) But a year later they are all aired out & not all sold & ready for some colorful combinations/creations for this year's Mardi Gras on Feb 12th aka Fat Tuesday :oD

link to what Wiki has to say about Capuchon's...

File:Courir run 2010 01.jpg

Wiki Commons Description for photo on Wikipedia...
en: Courir de Mardi Gras in en:Savoy, Louisiana 2010
17 February 2010
Own work Herb Roe www. chromesun. com
author: Heironymous Rowe

Tee Courir de Mardi Gras...a painting by Herb Roe - who took this photo...from the Faquetigue Courir de Mardi Gras - near Eunice, LA in 2010 - he mentions Tee = Little in Cajun French...

The Cajuns & Mardi Gras: Pulse of the Planet...
(note: there are more fun photos here...and the Blogger went to Basile too, so he may have been talking to one of the Krewe that I saw at Vermilionville on Sunday--it's a small world in Cajunland?! so Watch the Video for the Basile Mardi Gras Run & their own special Song...)

The Costume
"Says Potic Rider, capitaine and president of the Mardi Gras Association in Basile, Louisiana: "The part of our costume that comes from the old country is our hat, the capuchin. It's based on the dunce's hat. In the old country, the Mardi Gras would make fun of the king and queen and high-society people. They would try to make them look like dunces.
'From what my parents used to tell me, they used to have different costumes when they came down from Nova Scotia. Once they got here, they incorporated an Indian design. The suits have tassels hanging down the legs. ...We start preparing our suits from the end of the last Mardi Gras. Sometimes it takes all year, and they're still not finished!' "
The Basile Mardi Gras Run"There are a few old-timers in Basile who have refined the tradition of ritual begging into an art form. The idea, say veterans Potic Rider and Vories Moreau, is to change your costume every year, and disguise your voice and your gestures so that even your neighbors won't know it's you. When I interviewed Vories a day before Mardi Gras, he assured me that I wouldn't recognize him when he "begged me" the next day – and he was right!
I was told that a good Mardi Gras will always try to extort as much as he possibly can from a potential donor, but he always knows when to stop. Likewise, a Mardi Gras' antics walk a fine line between the hilarious, the unexpected, the embarrassing, and the naughty. If they go too far, the capitaines are there, whips in hand, to set them straight. In Basile and elsewhere, this give and take is part of the entertainment, as Mardi Gras climb roofs and trees and feign running off with barbecues, bicycles, and small children.
Although the Mardi Gras are enjoined to keep their masks on throughout the entire day, in Basile at the end of a visit to a household, a few Mardi Gras runners will sometimes linger, take off their masks to reveal themselves to their neighbors, and sing a verse from their song.
From dawn until midday, Basile's Mardi Gras run goes from the town to the outlying countryside, tarrying for a while for a big gumbo lunch at Mrs. Edna Redlich's house before forming a triumphal procession back to town for a street dance. Around 5 p.m., everyone goes home to rest and to change costumes. The celebration reconvenes around 7 p.m. at the town barn with a gumbo dinner, a grand march, a dance, and a competition. Prizes are given in several categories, including most innovative costume and most (intentionally) ugly!
Potic Ryder says that "running Mardi Gras is like letting the air out of a balloon. We wait for this all year. When it' s over, it's a relief, 'cause you're really worn out."
At the end of the day, there's an exhilaration mixed with the exhaustion, as if you and the whole town have made it through a rite of passage, the collective cathartic tickle known as Mardi Gras."
(note: I think I love this Country Krewe from Basile--they sound very kind hearted, like all the Cajuns I've ever met...and really don't have a clue if they care to be called Cajuns or not...now am feeling badly--I didn't have a coin to give the begging chicken runner at Vermilionville...it was kind of them to come out for an extra run there for the town folk/tourists/the kids...so next year I'll know better?!)

Link to a YouTube of the Basile Mardi Gras dancing on main street...
I love all these costumes...check out the dancing, even with go cups...LoL...

Reference to a book I'd like to find now...
Carolyn and Carl's book, Cajun Mardi Gras Masks, published in 1997 by University Press of Mississippi
Link to Amazon.com where you can buy the book--for $30...sigh...
Link to the University Press of Mississippi & more summary about traditional maskmaking...


File:Courir de Mardi Gras Horse rider with capuchon Savoy, La 2011.jpg

Wiki Commons description...

Participants of the 2011 Faquetaigue Courir de Mardi Gras in Savoy, La on horseback. The figure wears the traditional capuchon, a pointed hat meant to mock the nobility.
9 March 2011
Own work Herb Roe www. chromesun. com
author: Heironymous Rowe

Link to Wikipedia about the Courir de Mardi Gras--where this photo can be found & more about the "chicken run" as many will call it...

Faquetaigue Courir de Mardi Gras

"The Faquetaigue run was started in 2006 by a group of local musicians in a small town outside of Eunice as an alternative to the main Eunice courir. The group, which included Joel Savoy (local music producer and former member of the Red Stick Ramblers) and his brother Wilson Savoy (of the Pine Leaf Boys), felt that the other local runs had gotten too rowdy and lost too much of the authentic traditions. No beads or bead throwing are allowed at the event nor are radios, as all music is played on instruments. Another requirement is that everyone must participate by wearing costumes and dancing, singing, begging and chasing chickens at each of the stops along the route. The majority of the participants are musicians or dancers and it has become one of the most musically based on the various runs. The Faquetigue Mardi Gras route takes it to the cemetery where Cajun fiddler Dennis McGee and his wife Gladys are buried. The group stops at the gravesite, where a local priest says a prayer and musicians play songs while grouped around the headstone. The characters played by Steve Earle and Lucia Micarelli in the HBO series Treme attend the Faquetaigue mardi gras during the seventh episode of season two."

(my note: I think I've met someone in this Krewe--they were at the Fabric Store buying items to put together or add to their Capuchon...he said the name of the town or the run & it sounded like this, something I couldn't pronouce or spell at the time--now I'm thinking this looks like it sounded?! 

He was the most helpful/polite young man--he had started a basket & I was talking to another lady across the table who was looking for Mardi Gras print fabric...she was telling the salesgirl that this was her first country run & she was making her & her daughter a costume--I said we were trying to make Capuchons at the theater to go along with the Country Mardi Gras Costume sale...then the young man told us he was making one & he was going to run in this "F" named town/run & then he went thru what was in his basket...

Safety Pins
Fabric Glue
Cord roll
Grommets (he had a grommet gun)
Push/Pull plastic piece for a neck strap

It seems he was going to safety pin the bells onto the fabric, rather than trying to glue them or sew them--clever & I said I was going to try that too...

Then he was going to put grommets on either side of his hat/his Capuchon to pull the cord thru & tie it on either end so it would go thru the push/pull plastic piece (I haven't a clue what to officially call it) which would make it like a cowboy hat or a garden hat & would be easy to put on/take off...rather than a fabric tie or using the cable to tie into a bow...the mask he said would have elastic on it & not the capuchon--which I thought at first it would & had picked up colorful elastic in purple/green (2 of the Mardi Gras Colors--of purple/gold or yellow/green...) Again I thought this was very clever, though I don't think we'll go to all that trouble/expense to make quick hats at the Mardi Gras Costume Sale...

And again, here's a guy, at the Fabric store, shopping for materials to make his Capuchon & more than willing to tell us all his secrets to make one & to invite us all out to his town/his run--which he says is small, only a six or eight houses I think he said...but if he's with this group of musicians & dancers it must be more than enough to have an excellent day of fun/laughter/community highjinks?!)


photo credit:
Light from the Bottom of the Boot - Blog
Lucius A. Fontenot

Poster from 2009 Faquetigue...which looks like it was the 4th running of the Courir de Mardi Gras...


note: more photos coming soon... ;o)


My First Capuchon...

(all I have to do is figure out how to add the elastic chin strap now & it's done/ready to be sold at the Vintage Mardi Gras Costume Sale at Cite des Arts...what kinda price do you put on your First?!)



My Second Capuchon...









note: more people tried this beauty on than any other
- then finally a girl bought it for the run in Savoy I think she said
but it will look different as she's going to add her costume fabric
to it so there will be more fringes - still I'm gonna miss this Capuchon?!


...and there was a mask to match
with diamond eye holes, of course

My Third Capuchon...
is there something to that saying--3rd time is the charm...

Step one...a long often more confusing one than you'd imagine
first you have to make a cone with a pointy top & that at the bottom fits on your head
(or in my case let's guess whose head it might fit on, so maybe bigger than mine...
I wondered during these attempts if knowing some more Math might help me out -
say how do you take a flat rectangle & roll it then to make a cone shape...hmmm...)
after fabric glue the material then you add fringe
in this case to match, but again with the new neon colors
and this time switching to the handy hot glue gun

fringe done
bells safety pin'd on
feathers hot glue'd to top

Capuchon w/Mask
it's funny how the Mask looks so much better up against your face
(it was so very clever how they figured out you could mask your facial
features by drawing/painting on the mesh wire but that you could also have air
as it's Southern Louisiana you need to be cool as often & in as many places as possible)
The Traditional Mask Making or at least my First Attempt to go with this Third Attempt Capuchon...
(see also the next post with more crafting of Capuchons/Masks)

After drawing on the facial features realized Dali may have been an subconscious influence...
(just saying)
window screen cut into rectangle
black duct tape sides, double strips - so front & back
fake fuzzy hair fabric for beard/eyebrows
punch holes with hole punch on sides at edge of eyes
tape ends of elastic to pull thru the holes to the fronts to tie
(tie one end then pull thru the other, put on head & adjust the other side to be snug & then tie that knot...or in the case of making for others, I left it long so they could adjust & then cut it to their head size or comfort zone...)
draw on facial features with black permanent marker
add red lips with red marker
add eyeball color with whiteout
(or as another Crafternoon participant did--use red paint,
for bloodshot eyeballs...of course, it's Mardi Gras?!)

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