Mardi Gras unmasked An Acadiana photographer gives an inside look at our version of the state holiday for a southern culture blog.

by Christiaan Mader

An Acadiana photographer gives an inside look at our version of the state holiday for a southern culture blog.

A photo of beloved Lafayette throwback outfit The Figs bedecked in handmade courir costumes. Fontenot will be posting shots like this throughout Mardi Gras as a guest curator for Southern Glossary.
Photo by Lucius Fontenot

There are aspects of Louisiana culture that can be esoteric even to Louisianians, perhaps the curious Courir de Mardi Gras most of all. If you’re like me, parsing crowds of bead gluttons on a city parade route is struggle enough. Waking up Mardi Gras day to run from the whip of a cone-masked capitain in Eunice escapes me as a way to spend a day off. Still, the fascination around Acadiana’s ancient annual LARPing tradition knows no bounds thanks to boozy horsemanship, colorful handmade costumes and sado-masochistic revelry.

That’s all a matter of perspective of course, and thanks to the all-things-sub-Mason-Dixon culture blog Southern Glossary, natives and foreign observers alike will have the genetic insight of Acadiana-based photographer Lucious Fontenot to guide them.

A Mamou native and co-founder of Cajun music revivalist imprint Valcour Records, Fontenot has been a longtime associate of the Savoys of Eunice, the hosts of one of the more well-known courir events in north Acadia Parish. Through his work as an artist and local cultural ambassador, Fontenont, 37, has been instrumental in conveying Acadian folkways to his own generation.

Southern Glossary has tapped Fontenot as a curator in its weekly around-the-south Instagram series, which selects regional photographers to document their towns and homes with an intimate eye. Photographer Ashlee Michot, wife of Louis Michot of Lost Bayou Ramblers, recently participated in the Instagram series, and turned Fontenot onto the opportunity. Fontenot saw it as an chance to give personal insight to a traditional practice that may be alien to folks outside of the state.

As a photographer, Fontenot has covered the nascent slow foods culture taking root in Acadiana homes and kitchens through photo collections of boucheries, supper club events and chef portraits. Most recently, he began a project documenting the special relationship Acadiana homes have fostered with the Hitachi rice cooker since the mid-20th century.

Beginning yesterday — Feb. 1 — Fontenot will be posting at least three photos a day of his comings and goings around Acadiana’s Mardi Gras festivities. His perspective is sure to draw stark contrast to the glitter of the more well-known New Orleans parades.

You can catch Fontenont’s daily documentation of Acadiana Mardi Gras all the way through Ash Wednesday via Southern Glossary’s Instagram account. You can also check out Fontenot’s work by visiting his website.