How Lake Charles Celebrates Mardi Gras With Sister City
Lake Charles businessman, Blane Bourgeois, was playing golf one day with a gentleman from Sioux City, Iowa, and the idea of the two becoming sister cities was born.
From that single game, a 23-year relationship between the two cities has blossomed into a great tradition for both communities.
In an interview with KPLC's John Bridges, Bourgeois explains the early concept:
They wanted us to bring up some costumes and help them kick off a parade for a festival they already had existing...so we did that. - Blaine Bourgeois
The two cities noticed that the similarities that we shared would be a great environment for idea sharing, as well as culture sharing:
We started seeing that we had similar challenges," said Lori Marinovich, a member of Krewe De Charlie Sioux. "They had a riverfront, we had a lakefront. So over the last 20 years, we've seen a lot of similar type projects."
Both cities send delegations during their respective parades. Here in Lake Charles, Krewe De Charlie Sioux is made up of residents of SWLA and Sioux City, Iowa.
Sioux City holds their "Big Parade" during the 4th of July weekend. Lake Charles sends our delegation up there to help with planning, and to bring costumes to be used during the parade. Also, when the Parade is over, they have an authentic Cajun sit-down dinner and handmade Mardi Gras costumes direct from Louisiana. This free event showcases Louisiana-trained chefs taking part in the Taste of Louisiana dinner, featuring chicken and sausage gumbo, rice, Cajun potato salad, dinner rolls, and sugar cookies.
The first parade the Lake Charles delegation helped throw in Sioux City was a walking parade on their riverfront. No one in Sioux City knew what was going on or how to react. When they threw beads and cups, everyone ducked and got out of the way!
However, fast forward 23 years, and the parade now hosts many floats and people wildly screaming for beads. It's a legit Mardi Gras Carnival experience! This annual Sioux City tradition keeps getting bigger and bigger every year.
Lake Charles, we can be really proud of our delegation. They have done a fantastic job over 23 years, not only in spreading our local culture and traditions to other parts of the country, but by being a pivotal part of creating a new tradition for Sioux City residents for generations to come.