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Mémoire de la Boue

Lucius Fontenot | Louisiana, United States

Courir de Mardi Gras 2020, Savoy, Louisiana

Some traditions are so much a part of who we are they seem to not have been learned but inherited. As if the land we walk and the mud that sticks to us carries the memories of our ancestors. 

I grew up in South Louisiana where the annual Mardi Gras celebration looked nothing like the images of New Orleans’ Carnaval. Le Courir de Mardi Gras rituals date back to rural, medieval Europe times and are a mixture of folk traditions of pre-Christian Celtic and Catholic France.Le Courir is a begging ritual where the common folk in the middle of winter begged for charity from the nobles- anything to make a communal feast at the end of the day. Offered up as payment was entertainment. Revilers dressed in costume poking fun at nobility, scholars, and the church. Today the dress remains in that tradition but The Mardi Gras beg within their rural community in South Louisiana.

As a child, I didn’t understand how different my culture was until I started photographing it. There is something about seeing cultural events frozen in a 35mm frame that allowed me to step outside of what I have lived and see it in another way. For years I photographed Le Courir de Mardi Gras in color but it wasn’t until I worked up the images in black and white that I felt my photographs truly captured the weird, otherworldliness of the event. 




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