Award-winning mystery author Ellen Byron writes the Cajun Country Mystery series. Ellen’s TV credits include Wings, Just Shoot Me, and Fairly OddParents. She’s also written 200+ national magazine articles, and her published plays include the award-winning Graceland. As if that weren’t enough, she also worked as a cater-waiter for the legendary Martha Stewart, a credit she never tires of sharing. Learn more about Ellen and her books at her website.
Mardi Gras Murder, my new Cajun Country Mystery, revolves around the Cajun tradition, Courir de Mardi Gras – Mardi Gras Run. The runs are down-home affairs, with fantastic masks often made by the wearer or a local craftsperson, and costumes that are also primarily made by hand. What I love are the fabrics Mardi Gras – in Cajun Country, the term is often used as a proper noun – chose for their outfits.
They range from sedate…
Some are a little bit country…
Some are a little bit rock ‘n roll…
No matter the pattern, all the fabrics reflect the joyous nature of the Courirs. Yes, they can get crazy. And being an animal lover, I don’t love the part of a courir where they chase a chicken and then catch it for the communal gumbo that ends the festivities. Some are men only, which pushes a button for me. But local women responded by creating their own runs. There are family runs, too.
Still, I love the fact that such a unique and specifically regional celebration not only exists but thrives in today’s homogenized society. My friend Jan Gilbert, a renowned NOLA artist, participated in a run and took these photos. Someday I hope to join a run myself, well… laissez les bon temps rouler! Let the good times roll.
Mardi Gras Murder
A Cajun Country Mystery, Book 4
The resilient citizens of Pelican aren’t about to let some hundred-year flood ruin their Mardi Gras festivities, which include Courirs de Mardi Gras – Mardi Gras Runs – a gumbo cook-off, and the Miss Pelican Mardi Gras Gumbo Queen pageant contest. But when a body of a stranger washes up in the bayou Crozat Plantation B&B, and a pageant judge is shot, Maggie Crozat is convinced that the deaths are connected. Does someone want the pageant queen crown bad enough to kill for it? Or are the deaths somehow related to the Orphan Train, which delivered its last charges to Cajun Country in 1929?
(Photos courtesy of Jan Gilbert and EPrimeMedia.com)