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In South Louisiana, the real Mardi Gras action takes place in the countryside. The courir de Mardi Gras celebrations in the countryside of South Louisiana give the popular phrase, “Throw Me Something Mister,” a whole new meaning. Dressed in colorful, homemade costumes with pointed hats and masks, participants in the courir, which means "run" in French, beg for things other than beads or doubloons. What they want are ingredients for a communal gumbo. Mardi Gras in towns like Eunice, Iota and Mamou include participants on horseback or in flatbed trailers riding from house to house begging for chickens, rice and other food items for the gumbo to be made later in the day. Most communities say their runs have been around as long as they can remember and have medieval roots. Historian and head of UL Lafayette's Folklore Department Barry Ancelet says, “In a nutshell, the country Mardi Gras comes from the way Mardi Gras was celebrated in France in the rural section as opposed to the urban carnival. It’s an early springtime renewal and is essentially a way for communities to celebrate and find themselves.” Costumes conceal participants’ identity and allow them to parody roles in authority - men to dress like

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