Brass band keeps Lawrence’s downtown Mardi Gras parade marching on

photo by: Mike Yoder

Participants in the annual Lawrence Mardi Gras parade revel in the sounds of New Orleans jazz as they march through downtown Tuesday, March 5, 2019.

Lawrence’s annual Mardi Gras parade — with its bead-clad participants and brass band — will return to downtown’s sidewalks at noon Tuesday.

The parade has been a staple in Lawrence since 2007, when a Louisiana family moved to town and started the tradition.

Mike West and Katie Euliss moved to Lawrence after Hurricane Katrina destroyed their home in New Orleans. Their children were disappointed that there was no Mardi Gras parade in Lawrence, so the family started their own, which they organized through 2018. They have since left Lawrence, but the parade marches on, led by a brass band named in their honor.

Mike and Katie’s Brass Mob Brass Band has been rehearsing weekly for about a month, according to band member Miles Bassett. The band typically has anywhere from 10 to 40 people, and musicians who did not attend rehearsals are still encouraged to join the “Krewe de Kaw” on the parade day.

The parade begins outside Aimee’s Coffeehouse, 1025 Massachusetts St. As parade participants walk up Massachusetts Street, they enter businesses and try to pick up people along the way. The parade is an unofficial city event, so participants stay on the sidewalks and follow traffic signals when crossing the road.

photo by: Mike Yoder

Participants in the annual Lawrence Mardi Gras parade bring a little New Orleans jazz to the inside of Alchemy Coffee and Bake House, 816 Massachusetts St., during their march through downtown Tuesday, March 5, 2019.

Although the parade is in the middle of the workday, Bassett said it usually garners about 100 to 200 people — and that “our core group has made time for it no matter what.”

Bassett said the group plans to keep the Mardi Gras parade afloat, so to speak. (No, the parade does not include floats.)

“We’re going to keep this going as much as possible,” Bassett said. “We went ahead and added a website this year to help spread the word and get more people to show up.”

That website — — includes rehearsal times for the band, a map that shows where people can park for the parade and a “countdown to Mardi Gras.” Bassett said that in advance of the 2021 Mardi Gras parade, he plans to upload sheet music for the band online, so musicians who can’t make rehearsals can practice from home.

The website also encourages people to dress up in masks and bring flags, and notes that it is a family friendly event.

The parade will end at Free State Brewery, 636 Massachusetts St. Bassett said the band typically marches into the establishment, plays a few songs in the main room and then shares a couple beers together.

photo by: Mike Yoder

A participant in the annual Lawrence Mardi Gras parade revels in the sounds of New Orleans jazz as marchers make their way through downtown Tuesday, March 5, 2019.

Photo galleries

2019 Mardi Gras parade

2018 Mardi Gras parade

2017 Mardi Gras parade

2016 Mardi Gras parade


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