Lake Charles will honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. not just on Monday, Jan. 21, but the preceding three days as well.

The MLK Coalition plans the Martin Luther King Jr. Festival, staged at various locations around the city.

In its 35th year, the festival is also sponsored by The Vibe 105 Foundation and KZWA 104.9 FM.

The festival helps to create scholarships for area students to defray the cost of attending college. It also pays homage to local leaders who exude King’s ideas of “Peace, Justice and Brotherhood,” a news release says.

Weekend events include a memorial breakfast saluting outstanding individuals in the community, the MLK Community 5K Run/3 Mile Walk, MLK Health and Awareness Fair, and a community cleanup.

The celebration continues on Monday with the Family Day Festival, which includes a parade; zydeco, R&B, blues and southern soul music. Also, a Celebrity Gumbo Cook Off Contest, local vendors, exhibits, arts & crafts, and Creole and Cajun food.

All Family Day events are free.

For more information and the band lineup, visit or call (337) 491-9955.

Rolling in Shreveport

Carnival season has hit the northern reaches of the state as well, with the first two parades in the Shreveport-Bossier area next weekend.

The Krewe of Sobek Parade rolls at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, promoting the excitement of Mardi Gras to those in Shreveport's minority communities. 

Sobek, the God of Water, was sometimes called Crocodile God, and is a symbol of great power.

The parade begins at Fair Grounds Field and moves through the Queensborough neighborhood.

The Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau says a great place to catch the parade is in areas near the campus of Fair Park Middle School, 3222 Greenwood Road.

The Krewe of Harambee Martin Luther King Jr. Day Mardi Gras Parade takes to the streets at 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, in downtown Shreveport.

Beginning near Shreveport Municipal Auditorium, the parade travels through downtown along Milam and Texas streets.

Great spots to see the parade, according to the bureau, are the 500 block of Texas Street near the Caddo Parish Courthouse and the 600 block of Milam Street near the Capri Theatre.

After the parade, local high school marching bands traditionally gather on the steps of the auditorium (705 Elvis Presley Ave.) for an informal "battle of the bands." 

To request the bureau's annual printed guide to local Carnival festivities, the Gris Gris Guide to Mardi Gras in Shreveport-Bossier, call (800) 551-8682 or download at

Music and a meal

Les Cadiens du Teche (Cajun French Music Assoc.) will present Cadiens Cajun Band along with a catered meal Thursday, Jan. 17, at La Louisiane Banquet Hall, 5509 La. 14 in New Iberia.

The event runs from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Admission is $10, and free for first-time visitors and prospective members.

For more information, call (337) 258-1876 or visit the association's Facebook page.

Follow Judy Bergeron on Twitter, @judybergeronbr.