Making a gumbo is a Mardi Gras tradition in Church Point - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Making a gumbo is a Mardi Gras tradition in Church Point

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The Town of Church Point held their Mardi Gras celebration on Saturday, and one of the main aspects that binds the community together is food. 

On Main Street, Chad and Rachel Castille played an important role: they were the providers of gumbo.

"We're cooking a chicken and sausage gumbo with chicken gizzard and smoked turkey necks," explained Chad. 

During the rural Mardi Gras celebration, hundreds of people forged out into the elements to take part in a centuries-old tradition: roaming the countryside, stopping at homes along the way and dancing like chickens to receive ingredients in return to make a "grand gumbo."

"You know, feeding the Mardi Gras-ers who come by and have been riding all morning, probably since six o'clock this morning, you know, chasing chickens and stuff, and they can stop here and grab a bite and fill their bellies," said Rachel. 

The "chicken dancers" say the ingredients, as well as snacks, they receive from neighbors is crucial to their success. 

"While you're riding horses, there's no stores out here to stop and get food. You can't carry your food with you, so you stop along the way at everybody's houses and you pick up your food from them," said rider Damon Comeaux.

But like any long-standing tradition, people experiment with new ideas to expand the experience, such as Paul and Sheree Potter, who brought a new style of Cajun cooking: Casian cooking. They used Cajun and Asian spices to marinate shish kabobs. 

"We're hoping to build our business to get other people to taste our food, you know! It's something different; it's not the norm for around here," said Paul, the co-owner of Casian Cuisine.  

"I don't think here in Louisiana they have that, you know, a Filipino restaurant," presumed Sheree, the other half that makes up Casian Cuisine.

Whether it was traditional Cajun, or Asian-Cajun, celebration of food brought everything full circle. 

"You just have to know certain people. If you know somebody's house along the parade route,  you can get back on your horse and follow everybody else. But usually, at the end of the parade, everybody goes back to Saddle Tramp and eats their gumbo with all the chickens and ingredients they chased and caught," said rider McKenzi Soileaux.  

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