It's carnival time in Southwest Louisiana and the Mardi Gras season officially kicks off tonight with the annual 12th night celebration inside the Lake Charles Civic Center.

Lake Charles has over 50 krewes and is second in the state only to New Orleans with the number of krewes participating in Mardi Gras activities. Lake Charles is also the only place in the state where the public is invited to see the ornate costumes the royal courts from all local krewes in one place, both at the Twelfth Night evening.

The costumes are huge at each presentation with some weighing more than 65 pounds. The court royalty have no problem wearing the costumes and even taking a bow before the Mardi Gras queens and Duke or Duchess of Misrule at the front of the stage. It's a great way to get a look at the kings, queens, royal dukes and duchesses, captains, courtesans and jesters in full costume.

This is also a family friendly event so bring out the whole family for a night of fun!

Everything Mardi Gras

Sunday, January 6

Twelfth Night Parade — Lake Charles Civic Center Coliseum, 5 p.m. — Tickets cost $5 in advance, or $6 at the door.


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