The news most Mardi Gras fans were expecting but still staying hopeful on was announced yesterday: no Mardi Gras in Lake Charles. No parades will roll down Ryan Street this year.

Most krewe Mardi Gras Balls have been canceled due to COVID restrictions. The worst one for me, personally? No gumbo cook-off. That one hits me pretty hard. Usually by the end of the cook-off, I never wanted to see another Styrofoam cup of juice and rice for at least another year.

Erin and Chad Davison Mardi Gras (Courtesy of Erin D)

What do we even do now? What can we do? I came up with a random list in my head of ways you could perhaps scratch the itch of the season by getting creative.

1. Eat all the King Cake - You now no longer have to worry about fitting in that ball gown or suit for a fancy ball. You might have been conservative on the diet leading up to those balls, but now you can just let it go. Try every flavor from every store you can find locally.

2. Sit in the back of a truck on your street and drink - It may not have the appeal of watching random people walk by kicking beer cans, but you can at least BBQ and blast some Keith Frank in the background.

3. Go buy the beads - You'll have plenty of time to shop real deals on beads this year to stock up for next year. I honestly know every year that I am going to forget to buy beads at the last minute. I don't have an excuse for next year now. I have a whole year to find the cheapest beads.

4. Explore other Mardi Gras celebrations - Just because Lake Charles will be keeping our celebrations in moth balls this year doesn't mean others in the area won't. Use this year to go check out, safely, how other areas besides Lake Charles celebrate the season.

Mardi Gras has been my favorite season of the year for the last 15 years of being able to dress up, MC balls, DJ on floats, smell the food, and meet new people. It certainly won't be the same this year, but that doesn't mean we can't get creative on how we participate. It might be hard, but find a little light at the end of the tunnel.

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