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Making masks for Tee Mamou Mardi Gras, a family tradition

They’re an intricate part of what makes a courir stand out from the rest.

And for Renee Douget, they’re also a way for her to keep her late father’s memory alive during the Mardi Gras season.

“It’s hard to explain and at times I find it’s hard to explain to those running mardi gras,” says Renee. “Some do it because their brother did it, their sister did it, mom. Sometimes  I feel like it gets lost.”

As a child, Renee started making mardi gras masks to pass the time.  Taking leftover buttons and scraps from her mom. Today she’s turned into a business, but still holds true to the traditions passed down to her from her parents.

“It used to be a small, close group. It has gotten bigger over the years and that’s fine,” says Renee. “I’d rather keep the tradition alive. I’d rather see it big then not have anyone at all. As long as they’re keeping the tradition and honoring the rules that we as Tee-Mamou Mardi Gras have.”

Whether you’re looking for something to go along with your outfit or something that fits your personality, Renee can make it.  But there are some things you just won’t find incorporated into these traditional costumes.

“We will never have beads,” says Renee. “That’s a New Orleans thing. We’re more of the lower class. You find the leftovers to make you suit and that type of thing. Technology and life have changed, we’re just trying to keep it down.”

As Renee gets ready to close shop on another mardi gras season, she looks to the man who started it all for her and thanks him every day for showing her the true meaning behind traditions.

Katie Lopez

Katie Lopez

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