A GUEST POST WITH TUG CROZAT
Hi there, y’all, I’m Tug Crozat. You’re probably more familiar with my daughter, Maggie, but I thought I’d drop by and fill you in on what all’s going on these days at Crozat Plantation B&B.
Mardi Gras is a huge deal in Louisiana. Maggie once bought me a joke Christmas sweatshirt that said, “Happy Almost Mardi Gras.” Yup, that’s kind of how we think of it around here. The part of the year that isn’t Carnival Season basically serves as a lead-up to Carnival Season.
The literal translation of “Mardi Gras” is “Fat Tuesday.” It’s the last day you really get let loose before Lent starts. Let me tell you a little about how we celebrate here in our little village of Pelican, Louisiana. (Town motto: “Yes, We Peli-CAN!”) Yes, we have a parade with floats and throws like beads and doubloons. We also have several Courir de Mardi Gras. That means “Mardi Gras Run.” Folks dress up in these colorful costumes and wear handmade masks. Each courir has a capitaine, who keeps the group in line as much as possible as they go from house to house to cajole ingredients for a communal gumbo out of agreeable residents. The Mardi Gras – yup, here it’s a proper noun as well as a holiday name – sing, dance, and beg to get those ingredients. Then everyone comes together at one location where the communal gumbo is made and served. (Nowadays, a lot of the ingredient-gathering is purely ceremonial because the gumbo’s pre-made by local cooks to save time.)
In Pelican, we have a big Mardi Gras party once the Courirs show up with their ingredients. There’s a pageant queen, dancing, and my favorite part of the whole deal – the Gumbo Cookoff. Yup, in addition to the communal gumbo, there’s a whole contest for making it. A lot of men in our village love to cook, and the only thing we like cooking better than jambalaya is gumbo. I always make mine a big old cast iron pot that’s so important to me I store it in our family safe between competitions. It’s been handed down to Crozat men from one generation to another. Nobody knows how old it is, but boy, do I love that baby. Maggie, who’s an only child, jokes that while some of her friends had to compete with a sibling for attention, she had to compete with a black pot. (That’s what we call them – black pots.)
I always spend the week before Mardi Gras fixing up batches of my gumbo, making sure I have the right ingredients handy, doing a little fine tuning of the recipe, which I also keep in the safe. Like the black pot, that recipe’s been handed down through the family for generations, and Crozat men have won the Pelican Mardi Gras gumbo contest more times than I can count. I got my eye on the prize again for this year.
I can’t imagine anything going wrong. Can you?
Mardi Gras Murder: A Cajun Country Mystery
by Ellen Byron
About the Book
Mardi Gras Murder: A Cajun Country Mystery
4th in Series
Crooked Lane Books (October 9, 2018)
Hardcover: 304 pages
Digital ASIN: B078LZ5W3H
Southern charm meets the dark mystery of the bayou as a hundred-year flood, a malicious murder, and a most unusual Mardi Gras converge at the Crozat Plantation B&B.
It’s Mardi Gras season on the bayou, which means parades, pageantry, and gumbo galore. But when a flood upends life in the tiny town of Pelican, Louisiana—and deposits a body of a stranger behind the Crozat Plantation B&B—the celebration takes a decidedly dark turn. The citizens of Pelican are ready to Laissez les bon temps rouler—but there’s beaucoup bad blood on hand this Mardi Gras.
Maggie Crozat is determined to give the stranger a name and find out why he was murdered. The post-flood recovery has delayed the opening of a controversial exhibit about the little-known Louisiana Orphan Train. And when a judge for the Miss Pelican Mardi Gras Gumbo Queen pageant is shot, Maggie’s convinced the murder is connected to the body on the bayou. Does someone covet the pageant queen crown enough to kill for it? Could the deaths be related to the Orphan Train, which delivered its last charges to Louisiana in 1929? The leads are thin on this Fat Tuesday—and until the killer is unmasked, no one in Pelican is safe.
A simmering gumbo of a humorous whodunit, Mardi Gras Murder is the fourth piquant installment in USA Today bestselling author Ellen Byron’s award-winning Cajun Country mysteries.
About the Author
Ellen Byron authors the Cajun Country Mystery series. A Cajun Christmas Killing and Body on the Bayou both won the Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery and were nominated for Agatha awards in the category of Best Contemporary Novel. Plantation Shudders was nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards. Mardi Gras Murder launches October 9th. Ellen’s TV credits include Wings, Just Shoot Me, and Fairly OddParents. She’s written over 200 national magazine articles, and her published plays include the award-winning Graceland. She also worked as a cater-waiter for the legendary Martha Stewart, a credit she never tires of sharing.
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