A New Orleans-style Mardi Gras celebration has been organized by some locals who plan to take a costumed stroll down the Venice Beach boardwalk ending up at the Venice Bistro for an afternoon party with live music.

This is the sixth year of the celebration, spearheaded by local Venice couple Jessica Long and Johann Stein, a native of New Orleans. This is the fourth year that the event has been held at a Venice Beach location.

“Mardi Gras is a very special part of American culture and we wanted to bring it westward as far as we could,” explains Stein.

Stein plays guitar and sings in the New Orleans-style funk band The Gumbo Brothers, who will perform at the Venice Bistro.

Festivities begin at noon Saturday, February 17th, as costumed revelers assemble on the Venice Beach boardwalk and eventually make their way to the Venice Bistro, 323 Ocean Front Walk, Venice for a Mardi Gras dance party. Admission is free, and all ages are admitted.

Critical Brass and the Mardi Gras Tribe Drummers, a group of local musicians and percussionists assembled for the event, will perform for the costumed revelers.

Traditional Mardi Gras garb includes feathered masks, beads and an abundance of purple, green and gold clothing. Traditionally, purple represents justice; green represents faith; and gold represents power.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans takes place each year on Fat Tuesday, the day before the religious holiday Ash Wednesday. This year, Mardi Gras in New Orleans will be celebrated on Tuesday, February 20th.

Music will begin at 2 p.m. inside the Venice Bistro with a live performance by The Gumbo Brothers.

The Gumbo Brothers play originals and New Orleans funk classics. The group describes its music as “bayou-influenced psychedelic swamp funk.”

Nighttime Mardi Gras festivities then move across town to a costume party for ages 21 and up with performances by The Gumbo Brothers and guests taking place from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Rae’s Lounge, 10939 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles. Admission is free.

Information, (310) 737-1066.

UNCLE DARROW’S — Uncle Darrow’s Cajun/Creole Eatery will hold its seventh annual Mardi Gras West celebration from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, February 24th, at the restaurant, 2560 Lincoln Blvd., Venice.

Part of the proceeds from the event will go to the nonprofit Re-Unite America foundation to fund a larger benefit concert and festival scheduled for July 28th at Santa Monica College. The concert will pay homage to the first responders who traveled from all parts of California to the Gulf Coast region to assist with the search and rescue and many other life saving efforts in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The Mardi Gras event will feature live music by The BlueCat Express, a traditional New Orleans jazz Blues and Zydeco band, and a crawfish boil.

Information, (310) 306-4862.

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