Deadwood Celebrates Mardi Gras Annually

Rachel Eiesland, Contributing Writer

One doesn’t have to reside in New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras.

The celebration occurs annually and was held on Feb. 28 through March 1 in Deadwood, S.D.

Parades, costume contests, a Cajun cook-off, parties and live Zydeco music were free to those in attendance. Zydeco blends Cajun, blues and R&B to create a fast tempo.

New Orleanians call Mardi Gras the “Greatest Free Show on Earth!” according to Its origins can be traced to medieval Europe.

John Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville was a French-Canadian explorer who on March 2, 1699 arrived at a plot of ground. Bienville and his men happened upon the ground on the eve of the festive holiday. “Pointe du Mardi Gras” was the name given. These days Mardi Gras is celebrated with parades, but this wasn’t so in its beginning.

The Marquis de Vaudreuil, Louisiana’s governor in the early 1740s, established elegant society balls. By the late 1830s street processions of maskers with carriages and horseback riders joined the fun to celebrate Mardi Gras.

Occurring events became worthy of announcements in newspapers and by 1872 a King of Carnival, Rex, was invented by a group of businessmen. He was to preside over the first parade during the day.

When Russian Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff was visiting, he introduced his family colors that were purple, green and gold. These remain the carnivals official colors. Purple stands for justice, gold for power and green for faith.

Enjoyable times with friends and family are undoubted whether one has the opportunity to visit New Orleans for Mardi Gras or celebrate in Deadwood.

According to, “Mardi Gras in Deadwood, SD is a must-see event, combining the “anything goes” attitudes of New Orleans and the Wild West into one riotous weekend of revelry.”