Monday, February 19, 2007

Chicken On the Run

I spent the day today at the Creole Lundi Gras courir in Soileau. A courir, also known as a chicken run, is an old tradition celebrated at Mardi Gras in the small rural communities around here. It's sort of like trick or treat. People dress up in costumes and ride around the countryside on horses and in wagons, stopping at farmhouses along the way to sing and dance and beg for gumbo. At some houses the family serves us food; at others, they throw out a live chicken for us to chase. If we catch it, we can use it to make our own gumbo.

Here's the story of my wonderful day in photographs.

It was a chilly day so I wore my favorite jacket on the chicken run.

Here's me with my friend Anthony, who is also a recent cancer survivor.

In spite of the cancer, Anthony is still a very handsome guy!

This is me with Mr. Jack, riding on a haywagon.

Julie, Marla, and Claire on the haywagon.

Looking off the back of our haywagon at the courir stretching out behind us.

Rayfield is one of the flagmen who directs traffic and keeps everyone in line.

We stopped at a farmhouse where the family served us a gumbo.

At the next farmhouse they served us homemade donuts.

At this house they served us jambalaya.

Hanging out at one of the stops along the way.

Young riders join in an old tradition.

Friends enjoying a rest stop together.

Kids learn how to make their own Mardi Gras costumes.

Teens get in on the act.

Even the horses get dressed up.

Big horses

Little horses

At some of the farmhouses they bring out live chickens and let them loose for us to chase around the yard.

Here I am, ready to pounce!

Everybody chases the poor chicken.

Not so dumb after all, the bird escapes! Looks like we'll be having a vegetarian gumbo this year.

It's funny, I was sitting next to a man named Mr. Jack on the haywagon and we got to chatting. He mentioned that he was really happy to be there because he'd missed Mardi Gras last year. He said he'd had "a little health problem." Then he grinned at me at me and said, "And look what I got from it." He unbuttoned his shirt and showed me...a medi-port! "Hey, that's just like mine!" I said, and opened my jacket to show him my port. After that we bonded the big cancer bond, of course, big time.

You know, my very first thought when I got sick last year was that I might not live to see Mardi Gras. Or if I did that I might be too sick to enjoy it. So being able to go on this courir today really meant the world to me. And I'm sure it did to Anthony and Mr. Jack too. The whole event took ten hours and I'm exhausted now, tireder than I've ever been. But so very very happy! So very grateful to have been given another shot at Mardi Gras.

But before I crash into bed and sleep, can we pause for a moment of silence to honor those whose cancer didn't allow them that gift? Thank you.


Blogger Rose said...

I'm very grateful that you were able to courir avec les poulets!

9:35 PM  
Blogger citygrrrl said...

i have never been able to make it to a chicken run! always too lazy 'cause i was out too late the night before. even had a costume i made!

coulda shoulda this year especially!!! thanks for sharing it. felt like i was there.

7:26 AM  
Blogger Chuck Karish said...

What a great tradition! I'm conflicted by having good thoughts both for the jambalaya and for the chicken.

10:46 AM  

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