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Mardi Gras event supports shelter, veterans

By JOHN WALKER - jwalker@shelbynews.com

“Laissez les bon temps rouler!” 

The traditional Mardi Gras saying in Creole French – “Let the good times roll!” – was never more fitting than on Saturday evening.

At the appropriately-named Rendezvous event hall, 38 E. Washington St., a crowd of 75 people enjoyed music and fun for a good cause, raising money for the Shelby County Animal Shelter and the local Gateway House for veterans.

The concert was a sell out.

“Which was awesome,” said organizer Bob Rogers who performs as “Buck Rogers Jr.” 

Rogers and his La Louisanne Band opened the Mardi Gras-themed show which featured the music of Fats Domino and Allen Toussaint.

A New Orleans native of French Creole descent, Antoine “Fats” Domino Jr. is considered one of the pioneers of rock and roll, influenced by New Orleans rhythm and blues. He had 11 hits in the Top 10. One of his songs, “The Fat Man,” is considered the first million-selling rock and roll record.

Toussaint was a Louisiana native and highly regarded musician, composer, songwriter and music producer. Robert Plant and Allison Krauss, and Warren Zevon among many others, have recorded his songs; Glenn Campbell’s recording of Toussaint’s “Southern Nights” was a number one hit.  

Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun was on hand at the Rendezvous festivities to read a proclamation declaring Saturday “Mardi Gras Day in the City of Shelbyville.”

This is the second year for the fundraising concert.

“I hope we can make it an annual event,” said Rogers.

He did not have a total amount raised from the concert goers at presstime, but the 75 attendees paid $12 or $15 per ticket. 

A cat was adopted from the shelter at the show, Rogers added.

Mardi Gras originated in medieval Europe, evolving into the festival of the “Boeuf Gras” or “fatted calf” in France. French settlers brought the festival to what’s now Louisiana in the early 1700s.

By 1875, “Fat Tuesday” – which is today – when Mardi Gras is celebrated in New Orleans became a Louisiana state holiday.

Fat Tuesday is a day of feasting and revelry before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, a time of prayer and fasting before Easter.