Les Mains Guidées: Courir de Mardi Gras Mask Making
During February's workshop, the legendary Jackie Miller of Iota, Louisiana, will be leading a traditional Courir de Mardi Gras mask making workshop, but think of it more as a party! With perfect timing, the class will take place the day before Vermilionville’s annual Courir du Mardi Gras!
Our restaurant, La Cuisine de Maman, will provide mimosas and breakfast snacks. This workshop can accommodate 15 participants, so be sure to register
now. The cost of the class is $30 and must be paid in advance. Jackie will provide everything you need to create a one-of-a-kind Cajun, Mardi
Gras screen mask. You can wear your mask in a courir or display on your wall as personal artwork!
To register with our guest artisan, click here.
If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact Brady McKellar at Vville@BayouVermilionDistrict.org or call 337.233.4077 x.211.
ABOUT THE ARTISAN
Jackie Miller of Iota, Louisiana in Acadia Parish grew up among old-time Cajuns. She listened to their recipes, remedies, stories, music, and their traditions.
As a young girl, she watched her mother, various aunts, and friends, spend quite some time before the start of the Lenten season preparing costumes
and masks for their relatives to wear in their courir de Mardi Gras.
This rural Mardi Gras run is quite different from the New Orleans Mardi Gras celebration. In fact, the courir, as celebrated in Tee-Mamou, is thought to have its roots in medieval peasantry. Historians believe that the peasants would construct makeshift masks and costumes to wear as they traveled in groups from house to house to beg for food. In imitation of the fashion of the Queen and other wealthy and powerful citizens, they would fashion conical hats much like a dunce hat, which are called capuchons. The masks used to hide their identity were made from whatever material was available.
In southwest Louisiana since the 1850s, cardboard box material, cloth, needle and thread, horsehair, wool, screen, and plant parts have been used. Each mask and each capuchon is unique and original and if not a thing of beauty, at least a thing of wonder!
Jackie makes masks and capuchons for herself, her five sons, and for their friends. Jackie has an apprentice to whom she is teaching this unique craft. Her work is demonstrated at various fairs and festivals throughout the state, including Louisiana's Folklife Festival in Monroe. Jackie has been officially recognized by the state of Louisiana as a master craftswoman by being accepted into the Louisiana Crafts Program.
Bio by The Louisiana Folklife Center
Photo by Dominick Cross/The Daily Advertiser