Mamou is located at the heart of Louisiana's Cajun country. The town is famous for its music and musicians, and bills itself as "The Cajun Music Capital of the World." Consequently, Mamou figures into a number of song titles (such as "'Tit Galop Pour Mamou" and "Valse de Grand Mamou") and lyrics, as well as band names (such as Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys). Mamou is also home of the world famous Fred's Lounge, which features live Cajun music every Saturday morning.
Each year the town holds a Courir de Mardi Gras.
In small towns in rural Louisiana, the Mardi Gras riders wake up early, get into costume, saddle up the horse and begin traversing their local village in a large parade-style group. At each house, they dismount and beg for an ingredient for a gumbo. Generally, the homeowner will throw them a live chicken, which they must catch, resulting in much hilarity. Beer is a major factor in the celebration as well, making it all the more fun to watch.
Of all of the rural courirs, Mamou's Courir de Mardi Gras has attracted the most attention, perhaps because the organizers have been so insistent on preserving the old traditions and customs. In addition to the courir, there's a big street dance Monday evening.
Mamou Cajun Music Festival
The festival is held annually. In 2002, for the first time the festival was held inside the air-conditioned multi-purpose skating rink building right next to the old location. The festival includes a variety of Cajun musicians and groups. Visitors can just enjoy the music or join the crowds on the dance floor. There are also contests like egg throwing, boudin eating, a washer board tournament, the Cajun "dizzy dash," watermelon eating (for kids) to add to the fun and festivities. The festival also offers instructional classes in dancing, accordion making, and Cajun music.