Residents can experience an evening of exuberant celebration and a break from the ordinary at the Bonifas Arts Center Mardi Gras Masquerade fundraiser Feb. 5 from 7 to 10 p.m.
People need the let-loose celebration Mardi Gras encourages, said singer/songwriter Ziggie Zeitler, who will be performing at the masquerade. “It makes you forget about your day-to-day hardships,” he said. “You’re not thinking about ‘I’ve got to pay my taxes today,’ or ‘The fridge broke down,’ the day-to-day problems you have in life. You can forget about that and have a good time.”
Festivities will include Cajun and traditional Mardi Gras food, drinks, and dancing.
During Mardi Gras, the general attitude is “Let’s celebrate the city, the community, each other, and everything we’re excited about with a really good blow-out,” said Brook McGinnis, BAC events coordinator. “In this case, we’re also celebrating the Arts Center.”
Residents can sample frog legs, boudin sausage, red-eye gravy, jambalaya, beignets, chicory coffee, and king cake, mainly prepared by Bobaloon’s Café, said McGinnis.
Attendees can wear Mardi Gras masks, come in full costume, wear customary Mardi Gras colors (purple, green, and gold), or simply wear comfortable clothing, McGinnis said. “Sneakers or stilettos … anything is fine,” she said.
The most outstanding costume will be honored with a prize, said McGinnis, and door prizes also will be awarded.
A Mardi Gras mask can be a work of art, and residents seeking more interesting masks can attend a mask-making class Feb. 2 from 6 to 8 p.m. ($12 for nonmembers and $10 for members) in the BAC studio, choosing from an array of fabrics, feathers, sequins, glitter, and more. There is a special rate for this class or the Culinary Class – Mardi Gras: Gumbo & Bread Pudding with Mitzi & Maryanne Brayak, also, on Feb. 2 from 7 to 8. When you buy a ticket for the Mardi Gras Masquerade, receive 20% off one of the above mentioned classes.
Zeitler’s band will perform Cajun, Zydeco, Mardi Gras tunes, blues, and more, he said, “the whole gamut of music from deep in the delta and going down to Louisiana. Think of Memphis on down.” His band will feature drummer Oz Oswald and a to-be-determined bass player, while Zeitler will add vocals, guitar, and “harp” (harmonica).
Cajun music began with the traditional French folk songs of exiles that settled in Louisiana, later “borrowing from country and blues roots too,” said Zeitler, and currently, “some Cajun songs rock more than rock and roll.”
Louisiana Creoles created Zydeco, Zeitler said, and the music contains the influences of African American, French, Spanish, and Choctaw cultures.
Some say the word “zydeco” means “the snap beans ain’t salty,” said Zeitler, also known as “Zydeco Ziggie,” the music linked to food because “when people were getting together, getting ready to eat, going through the process of what they were doing with the beans, it was a social time,” with music, “so they kind of had a party and worked at the same time.”
Cajun and Zydeco musicians “expect people to be dancing. If people aren’t dancing, it’s an insult,” Zeitler said.
Tickets are $40 per person or $70 per couple for nonmembers and $35 per person or $60 per couple for members. The masquerade is sponsored by the Delta County Credit Union.