By Michael Aushenker

This week New Orleans officially marked Mardi Gras, the pre-Lent decadence that in Crescent City has come to signify daiquiri-filled cups, parade floats, colorful beads and all-around wild partying.

If there’s one place on the Westside that’s serious about celebrating the holiday — the food, in particular — it’s Uncle Darrow’s Cajun/Creole Eatery.

The family-friendly 15th annual Mardi Gras West “Fat Saturday” celebration comes replete with live zydeco, jazz, blues and hip hop music as well as, of course, plenty of wholesome Cajun and Creole cooking. Uncle Darrow’s boasts a menu sans beef, pork and lard, with all seafood farm-raised and grain-fed save the blue crab in its award-winning Filé Gumbo.

This year, event partners Councilman Mike Bonin and Re-Unite America also bring a charitable component.

Live acts on the bill include T-Lou, Super Hot Zydeco Band, and Ashley and Ashton of 2-U-Neek. Expect plenty of dancing, a crawfish boil and face painting among the afternoon’s activities.

Uncle Darrow’s originally opened on Venice Boulevard near La Brea Avenue on Feb. 4, 1994 — a date several weeks late, due to the Northridge Earthquake. Uncle Darrow’s re-launched at its current Lincoln Boulevard location in 1999 after Norwood J. Clark, Jr. and his partners realized that 70 percent of their business came from the Westside.

Over the years, the restaurant has cultivated a loyal clientele that has included actors John Larroquette, Ed Harris, Ed O’Neill, and George Lopez and athletes Deion Sanders, Lamar Odom and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Clark said.

After all of that success, “This is our way of saying thank you,” Clark said. “We’ve never sold a product. I want to be able to promote the culture.”

As they say in N’Awlins at this time of year, “Laissez les bons temps rouler.”

The 15th annual Mardi Gras West runs from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at Uncle Darrow’s Cajun/Creole Eatery, 2560 S. Lincoln Blvd., Marina del Rey. Free admission. Call (310)306-4866 or visit uncledarrows.com§

michael(at)argonautnews.com

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