Spring weather in South Louisiana can be unpredictable, at best. Temperatures can range from bitter cold to swampy heat — all in the same day. Which can complicate planning for Mardi Gras parades.
As we head into the second weekend of Mardi Gras parades in Lafayette, the weather will be sticky and damp for the next few days. The annual Krewe of Roux Mardi Gras parade on the campus of the University of Louisiana was canceled Thursday because of rain.
While a rainy cold front is expected to barrel in Sunday, there aren't any parades in Lafayette that day, and the chances of rain Saturday, Monday and Tuesday are small.
"Rain chances don't look really, really high" for Saturday, Montra Lockwood, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles, said.
Temperatures should approach 80 degrees Saturday afternoon, falling into the mid-60s just in time for the Krewe of Bonaparte parade Saturday night.
Then, in typical Louisiana weather fashion, a front will move in Sunday and bring with it a 60-70 percent chance of rain and colder temperatures, Lockwood said. Temperatures should be in the 40s for the Queen's parade Monday night, rising into the 50s Mardi Gras day.
"We won't have any rain in the area by that time," Lockwood said.
There won't be any bitter cold temperatures or frozen precipitation like the 2014 Mardi Gras day where the few parade-goers who braved frigid temperatures dodged falling icicles from trees and utility lines.
This year, between Saturday and Tuesday, those in the mood for some Mardi Gras fun can catch six parades in the city of Lafayette featuring around 150 floats, 2,500 float riders and about 21 marching bands from across the state, David Cortez, a spokesman for the Greater Southwest Mardi Gras Association, said.
Parade-goers are in for a treat with a few special groups performing.
"For the first time, there's a big band coming from the Carmouche Performing Arts Academy in New Orleans," Check Petty, association spokesman, said. The academy is opening a campus in Lafayette and will be performing in a parade Tuesday.
A band from Port Arthur, Texas, is returning Mardi Gras Day "because they love it," he said.
And a new elite marching unit comprised of 40-60 drummers from Lafayette and surrounding areas will participate in Lafayette's parades.
"This undoubtedly is the biggest free party thrown in Lafayette," Petty said.
The Greater Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras Association, a group of volunteers whose mission is to promote and enhance a family-friendly Mardi Gras, also sponsors Le Festival de Mardi Gras at Cajun Field in Lafayette throughout the Mardi Gras weekend, featuring carnival rides and food. The parades wind their way through the festival grounds, making it a wonderful family-friendly spot to catch all the fun Mardi Gras day.
Lafayette Mardi Gras parades
Youngsville Parade, Youngsville, 11 a.m.
Lafayette Children's Parade, Lafayette, 12:30 p.m.
(partial route from downtown Lafayette Public Library to Johnston Street to Cajundome Boulevard)
Krewe of Bonaparte Parade, Lafayette, 6:30 p.m.
Queen Evangeline's Parade, Lafayette, 6 p.m.
King Gabriel's Parade, Lafayette, 10 a.m.
Lafayette Mardi Gras Festival Parade, Lafayette, 1 p.m.
Townsquare Media Independent Parade, Lafayette, 2 p.m.