The Eunice Courir de Mardi Gras happened today as it has every year for decades, and KATC’s Eric Zernich was there.
The traditional courir dates back to the town’s founding in the late 19th century. This year the Eunice Mardi Gras Association celebrates their 100th courir.
If you don’t know, during a “courir,” riders go from house to house soliciting “donations” of food items to culminate in a community-wide gumbo. This can be rice, onions or bell peppers, but what the riders in the courir, often called Mardi Gras, really want is a live chicken. The “capitaine” of the run will release a chicken or guinea, and the riders, usually in various stages of inebriation, chase down the bird. The person who catches it generally brags incessantly, often for years, about the accomplishment. It’s all part of the tradition!
Folklorists say the event is based on early begging rituals from Europe, during the Medieval era. In Eunice, the courir was abandoned for a few years during World War II, but in 1946, a small band of riders revived the tradition. Today, the Eunice Courir de Mardi Gras has more than 2,000 participants on the run, and it continues to increase each year. The courir always happens on Mardi Gras, but carnival starts in Eunice the Friday before.