Arts & Life

Locals let the good times roll at Long Beach Mardi Gras

Many people reached out their arms to catch beads at this year’s “Shamrockin’ Mardi Gras” at Shoreline Village on Saturday.

The weekend celebration, just one day after St. Patrick’s Day, brought the best of both holidays with many activities including a parade, live music performances, tarot readings, DJs, food and bead “throws.”

Long Beach mayor Rex Richardson was in attendance and was welcomed in the parade along with his family.

Masks represented a way for early carnival goers to mingle with others outside their social class.
Masks represented a way for early carnival goers to mingle with others outside their social class. Photo credit: Kadie Gurley

The Mardi Gras event originally was supposed to occur on Saturday, Feb. 25, but was rescheduled and postponed due to a storm advisory.

Over 5,000 beads were tossed of colors purple, green and gold. Being more than a necklace, each color represents something significant toward the Christian holiday. Purple represents justice, green means faith and gold stands for power.

For couple Gary Coutri and Dina Coutri, spreading the love for Mardi Gras to other generations was important.

“Our elderly, our ‘seasoned’ citizens, we make sure to give them hats and give them things because they love it,” Gary Coutri said. “We gotta bring everyone over to the sunshine.”

Many kids received their first-ever beads. Gary Coutri stated that it’s so important for parents to bring their children to these events to learn more about New Orleans’ Mardi Gras culture.

“It makes kids want to be a part of what’s going on,” he said.

Carnival goer Dina Coutri made this hat featuring an alligator, feathers and a mask to incorporate some of Mardi Gras’ southern influence.
Carnival goer Dina Coutri made this hat featuring an alligator, feathers and a mask to incorporate some of Mardi Gras’ southern influence. Photo credit: Kadie Gurley

Starting in the 18th century, masks during Mardi Gras allowed people that wore them a chance to escape reality and society without worrying about constraints. It gave a carnival goer a sort of freedom to hang and gather with whoever.

Dina Coutri was all giggles when asked about her hat featuring alligators, feathers and a mask.

“I make my own hats. I made this on the way coming here and usually do a lot more,” Dina Coutri said.

Shoreline Village was busy as hundreds of people enjoyed the Mardi Gras celebration.
Shoreline Village was busy as hundreds of people enjoyed the Mardi Gras celebration on Saturday by the shops and eateries. Photo credit: Kadie Gurley

People of all backgrounds got jazzy on the dance floor, something the Long Beach community couldn’t do a few years ago due to COVID-19.

“It’s like every boundary has dropped, a beautiful feeling and it’s sharing life,” Gary Coutri said. “Everyone is coming out of their shell.”

It’s “beignet” a while, but all doors were open this time and many people flocked to the Shoreline Waterfront to check out shops and eateries while celebrating Mardi Gras and honoring Louisiana history.

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