Rougarou Fest part of latest Bayou Women Adventure!

Brrrr.  I don’t ever recall having 45-degree weather down here in October, and this is our third morning of such temps.  Of course, I’m sure it’s much colder in all parts north of here.  But come on!  This is crazy cold for us this time of the fall.  And the outrageous winds that ushered in the cold ruined any chance of a good fishing trip on Saturday morning for the three brave Bayou Women–Lil Sis, Carla, and Connie.  But they didn’t seem too disappointed as they huddled inside Camp Dularge sipping hot coffee Saturday morning–after Friday night’s festivities.

Bayou Women at parade

The warm temps Friday evening were no indication of what was coming.  We were screaming for a breeze while standing along Main Street in downtown Houma, with hundreds, maybe thousands of other curious onlookers.

Zombie?

When we arrived downtown at the Rougarou Fest around 5 p.m., the place was already packed with crazy-looking people wandering around, and other normal-looking ones hanging out on the streets, sidewalks, and sitting all over the courtyard.

Super Hero and Witch

Butterfly Girl

Princess

Cat Girl

What was this?  Mardi Gras in October?  For real?  Oh no, my friends, it was something much more serious than some frivolous Mardi Gras parade.

Rougarou Stew

It was the First Annual Rougarou (ROO gah roo) Fest, sanctioned by the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center . . .

Jonathan Foret - Head Zombie at the Rougarou.Fest

and the brain child of my creative friend, Jonathan Foret, executive director of the center.  Don’t worry, his breath is way worse than his bite.  Really!

But he’s not the Rougarou–he’s just a lowly Zombie!  But just what is a Rougarou, anyway?  The subject of local folklore, the Rougarou is the bayou version of a shape shifter, otherwise known as a Werewolf.  Maybe your folks told you the “Boogie Man would get you if you don’t watch out” when you were a child, but down here, it was most certainly the Rougarou.

Now, on with the rest of the festival.

Zombie Red-Flag Chase

People fill the downtown streets to watch the first ever Zombie Chase.  Runners make their way through an obstacle course, while Zombies try to snatch the red flags from their waists.  The person who ends the race with the most flags intact is the winner.

Gramps running for dear life!Gramps runs through the final gates, while the Zombie Chasers grab for his last remaining flag!

Young ZombieThis young Zombie takes the prize for best makeup job.

The Mad HatterEven the Mad Hatter gets in on the insanity.  He never spoke one word.  Okay, maybe he’s the Mute Mad Hatter.  Even Lil Sis couldn’t get him to talk.

Mad Hatter and Lil Sis

But man, he sure could schmooze!

Happy little Zombie FamilyYou might think that after the Zombie Chase, things would wind down.  But no, that was just the beginning.

As the barricades are removed, and with people still milling in the streets, the Sheriff’s Department come along and move us back . . . motorcycle style.

Sheriff's Motorcylce Brigade

They whiz by one last time, lights glaring and sirens blaring . . .

Motorcycles zipping by

making sure folks get off the streets, and stay back all nice and neat like this . . .

Rougarou Fest Parade Crowd

Let the parade begin!

Big Bad Wolf

Swamp Thing

Bride of Frankenstein and family

Scream

Thing 1 and Thing 2

Masked Men

Parade Crowd

Bloody Face

Cleopatra

With the last piece of candy thrown, and the last marching group gone by, what sounds like Boris Karloff’s voice narrating over some creepy music blasts from down the street.  Wait, is there more?

As the music grows louder, children scream as visions of the walking dead come to life right before their very eyes.

Dancing Zombies

Dancing Dead

Walking Dead

Zombies on parade

More Zombies Dancing

Zombies getting down!

Tallest female Zombie

Dance it, Zombies!

Zombie mom

and her baby Zombies

Who could imagine a large troupe of Zombies, performing a choreographed routine, totally in sync?  Well, I do believe I’ve seen it all now that I’ve seen a dancing Zombie troupe.

The Rougarou Festival was the first ever and one of a kind.  However, Houma wasn’t the only town to have a Zombie parade, a fact revealed by a recent Google search.  I’m not really sure why there’s a national obsession with the walking dead, but whatever the attraction, the parade was a hit, the kids went home with doubloons, candy, and the accompanying tummy aches.

Will I see you there next year?

BW

You may also like...

Comments

Rougarou Fest part of latest Bayou Women Adventure! — 27 Comments

  1. Where did the name “Rougarou” come from? What does it mean? Is there a connection with other traditions? Whatever – my gosh! People really got into it! I love the Mad Hatter, and I really liked the imitation of Munch’s “The Scream”. Pretty cool stuff – especially since candy came along with it.

    Speaking of cool – that cold front that came through is the same that I drove through in Joplin, Missouri, on Thursday. It hit me about noon, and there was a 25 degree drop in about 15 minutes – not to mention the winds. I gather that front is the same one that’s going to meet up with Hurricane Sandy and produce every sort of nastiness.

    I’m in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, now, heading back south. This afternoon I’m going to head out to the tallgrass prairie and have a hike. It’s supposed to get up to 60 today, so it ought to be lovely.

    Thanks for sharing this absolutely extraordinary celebration. You folks sure do know how to party!

    • Ha! It comes from bayou/Cajun folklore—it’s the bayou version of the werewolf and I went back and added the explanation thanks to you (once again). I guess my brain is still tired from this weekend’s Bayou Woman Adventure–too tired to be writing a blog post. People really get in to Halloween down here, and it’s something I’ve never quite understood. My ladies came from Little Rock via Shreveport and brought the cold front with them. Enjoy your journey!

  2. I believe I first heard of the Rougarou folklore from the Cajun Justice TV show. Looks like y’all may have had fun. Too bad about the cold front. Fishing would have just been the cherry on top of the weekend.

  3. I would love to be there next year!! I love stuff like this but, the hubby is an old stick in the mud when it comes to enjoying something of the nature. He won’t even go to the Christmas parade unless one of the grandkids is in it.:(

  4. Looks like fun! The kids and I have been to several Fall Festivals but I think you had a better time. We are dealing with the results of Sandy and mourning the loss of one of the tall ships that has sunk off our coast Jessie was very upset. Hope you are all well!

      • That was the HMS Bounty – built in Nova Scotia (Canada) 1960 for the film “Mutiny On The Bounty” (Marlon Brando, 1962) and also used in “Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”.

        14 crew rescued, body of deckhand Claudene Christian recovered (apparently she was related to Fletcher Christian o’ the original HMS Bounty), Captain Robin Walbridge still missing.

        May the Gods o’ the sea & wind give peace to their families.

        More here:
        http://gcaptain.com/bounty-abandons-ship-heavy-seas/

        Rescued were:

        Daniel Cleveland, 25
        John Svendsen, 41
        Matthew Sanders, 37
        Adam Prokosh, 27
        Douglas Faunt, 66
        John Jones, 29
        Drew Salapatek, 29
        Joshua Scornavacchi, 25
        Anna Sprague, 20
        Mark Warner, 33
        Christopher Barksdale, 56
        Laura Groves, 28
        Jessica Hewitt, 25
        Jessica Black, 34

        Recovered:

        Claudene Christian, 42

        Missing are:

        Capt. Robin Walbridge, 63

    • @Steffi – I don’t think they left port because o’ the storm – they were already at sea when it started heading inland. Captain and crew would have decided to make a run for it…usually storms are far more dangerous close to shore as there are more things to run aground on (or into) and the swells more intense – out at sea they tend to roll and pitch more than drop ye on yer keel.

      Unfortunate news either way…

      • I thought I read that they were only in 18′ of water when it flipped over because of a large wave. I know it was being brought to Galveston. I pray they find the Captain so his family will have some type of closure if he isn’t still alive.,

        This storm has been a record breaker. The size, the destruction and all so late in the year also. I haven’t heard from my grandson who is in the Carolinas yet. But one of my friends in New Jersey has her electric back already.

        All of you have a wonderful, safe Halloween.

        • Interesting thing about water depth and waves. In the shallow lakes here, say five feet or so, they get very rough BECAUSE they are so shallow. In 18 feet of water, storm winds can create an 18-foot wave! The ride up ain’t so bad, but you sure hit bottom hard when you come down.

  5. We got lucky here in the middle of the state we just got lots of rain and some strong winds. The mountians got over seven inches of snow and our coast got some flooding and damage but nothing like up north. One of our ski resorts will open today, their earliest opening ever. I cant imagine being on the slopes on Halloween.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *