Cajun costumes have their own unique style for the rural Courir de Mardi Gras (Mardi Gras run) celebrations of southern Louisiana. A sewing shop in Cajun Country specializes in the traditional riders’ costumes.
Mardi Gras in Cajun country is nothing like the big city parades. Here, it’s the Courir de Mardi Gras with riders on horseback chasing chickens, wearing colorful fringed costumes, tall pointed hats and bizarre masks. “The crazier the better,” explains Karen Quebodeaux, who runs the Vacajun sew shop in the Cajun community of Branch, Louisiana. And that includes any designs with “chickens, fleur-de-lis, and of course anything purple, green, and gold,” she adds.
Is it a crawfish?
Quebodeaux pulls a purple, green and gold costume from the rack and shows me how the basic design has a fabric fringe down the side of the shirt sleeves and pants. And then she shows me one of the most popular designs, a costume printed with what looks like boiled crawfish. “This is a dirty little secret,” Quebodeaux tells me. “It’s actually a lobster and I got it out of New Jersey.”
add a capuchon and a wild mask
You can find all of your Mardi Gras Cajun costume needs in this shop. Vacajun has grown from a few hundred costumes when it opened almost 20 years ago, to more than 1,300 costumes for the 2024 Carnival celebrations. The costume racks are topped with dozens of capuchons, the tall cone-shaped fringed hat of the Cajun Mardi Gras riders.
cajun costumes and the courir de mardi gras
stitching a cajun tradition
The sounds of sewing machines and scissors snipping fabric fill the large back room where a half-dozen or more costume makers are busy assembling the carnival outfits. With Mardi Gras less than a month away, the sewing shop is only taking last-minute custom orders. “We have almost zero waste,” says Quebodaux. She sorts the scraps of fabric by size or color. The left-over pieces are certain to find a place on another costume, capuchon or mask.
costumes for all sizes
The Cajun costume racks also include children’s designs and sizes, as the tradition of Mardi Gras rides expands to include activities for youngsters. Quebodeaux explains, “We are trying to use the culture and spread it to the next generation.
Vacajun costume shop is locate at 7381 Branch Hwy, Branch, LA. Phone: (337) 334-3255