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The Lake Charles, Louisiana, Mardi Gras Museum is housed in a building that was once a school. Today the building is the Central School Arts & Humanities Center. The Mardi Gras Museum is just one of the organizations housed in the building. The museum claims to have the largest collection of Mardi Gras costumes on display – they are fantastic. Besides the amazing costumes they have animated mannequins that tell the story of Mardi Gras and talking Mardi Gras chickens that are trying to escape being cooked up in a gumbo pot. There are various rooms set up that tell the story of baking King Cakes as well as costume making. Visitors can also climb aboard a Mardi Gras float, hear the cheering crowds and pretend that they are actually in a parade.
Mardi Gras in Lake Charles includes many events over many days is touted as being “family-friendly.” Visitors are told, “You don’t have to “show” anything to get beads!” The list of event spans several weeks. Lake Charles has over 50 krewes and is second in the state only to New Orleans with the number of krewes participating in Mardi Gras activities. Mardi Gras weekend kicks off on the Friday before Mardi Gras day with the Merchants' Parade, and the weekend holds all sorts of fun from gumbo cook-offs to Cajun food and music, Children's activities, various parades, and the grand finale is the Krewe of Krewes' Parade on Mardi Gras day. Check the Mardi Gras Calendar for full descriptions of activities and times on www.swlamardigras.com.