Family artisans create traditional Mardi Gras costumes in Church Point

Le Vieux Moulin
Posted at 9:04 AM, Feb 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-24 10:04:36-05

Beads and floats are normally the first things people think of when someone mentions Mardi Gras.

But a traditional Mardi Gras in Cajun country looks a little bit different.

Every year, communities in Acadiana begin preparing for their courirs by creating traditional masks and costumes.

For over 20 years, Le Vieux Moulin has been a destination for all things necessary for a true Cajun Mardi Gras.

Owner and artist, Jean Norman makes sure that all of her costumes are a cut above the rest. Her attention to detail is unmatched with each top and pair of pants being sewn with a mixture of hand and machine stitching.

Her costumes can take anywhere from two to five days to complete. But each one, according to Jean, is done with care.

"I measure my seams. I surge. I put a lot of work into them because I want to keep the tradition of Mardi Gras alive," she says.

And while Norman measures, cuts and sews, her daughter Bridget Boudreaux gets to work creating masks to match.

Vieux Moulin in Chruch Point continues Mardi Gras costume tradition

The job once belonged to Boudreaux's step father, Tommy Norman, who passed away in November 2019.

Boudreaux says she was always interested in helping her step-father put together his masks. But he never got around to teaching her just how the work is done.

Without his guidance, Boudreaux says it took some trial and error to get the techniques just right. The end result has been a family learning experience.

"I've had a lot of help from my nieces," says Bridget. "We're just trying to do what he used to do. They're not exactly like his, but he's helping us along the way."

Vieux Moulin in Chruch Point continues Mardi Gras costume tradition (pt 3)

The two ladies work separately at their crafts, but each piece could not be complete without the other.

"We try to match everything and make it kind of like Mardi Gras," says Norman. "Mardi Gras is fun and you can be anything you want."

An artist like no other, Norman says her costumes have shipped out all over the world.

And while creating the costumes is a passion for her, Jean says that she's hoping to make the work more of a hobby.

"I'm not old, but I'd just kind of like to slow down just a little bit," she says.

To grab one of Le Vieux Moulin's traditional costumes, revelers can head to the store in Church Point or call 337-684-1200. Any special orders must be made well in advance.