Revelry before Lent

Durham begins Mardi Gras season today
Jan. 31, 2013 @ 03:55 PM

Fat Tuesday is Feb. 12, but for those who cannot make a pilgrimage to New Orleans, the Bull City will celebrate the season before Lent with masks, beads and parades. Organizers for this year’s parade have even elected a king and queen – restaurateur and blues harmonica player Mel Melton, and guitarist-vocalist Rhonda Robichaux.
The Mardi Gras events begin today with the Ariadne Charity Masked Ball at The Scrap Exchange. The Bulltown Strutters, a street band, and Bluetailed Skinks, a traditional American music band, will be the musical guests for the ball.
Ariadne Krewe is partnering with The Scrap Exchange to put on the ball. Proceeds from this event will benefit the nonprofit organization PORCH-Durham, which raises money to support Backpack Buddies, a program that makes sure needy children in Durham Public Schools receive food during the weekends.
Costumes are encouraged at this event, which will include a contest for the best ensemble. The Scrap Exchange’s “make and take” room will be available, for a $5 fee. Other festivities include wine, local beer and refreshments, and a Mardi Gras piñata.
The Ariadne Krewe is seeking volunteers to help with the event, in exchange for free admission, special souvenirs and a chance to become the king or queen of Ariadne 2013. To volunteer, visit Ariadne Masked Charity Ball on Facebook.
The pre-parade events continue Feb. 9, when Motorco Music Hall on Rigsbee Avenue will have a costume-building and live music event. A kid-friendly event will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. The costume making resumes from 8 to 10 p.m., with live music until midnight.
On Mardi Gras proper, Durham will celebrate with its third parade. King Melton and Queen Robichaux have solid New Orleans credentials. Melton owns Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse, a Cajun restaurant, and is one of the pillars of this area’s blues scene. Robichaux, a New Orleans native and Triangle resident, leads the Chapel Hill-based Rhonda Robichaux Band, whose music is influenced by the funk and blues styles of her native city.
Krewes and other participants in the parade are asked to gather at 6:30 p.m. at CCB Plaza on Corcoran Street. At 7 p.m., the parade will strut its way north on Foster, then east on Geer Street before winding up on Rigsbee Avenue near Motorco Music Hall and Fullsteam Brewery – where the party will continue.


Go and Do
WHAT: Ariadne Charity Masked Ball
WHEN: Today, 7 to 10 p.m.
WHERE: The Scrap Exchange, 923 Franklin St., Durham
ADMISSION: Suggested $5 donation, or three food items for PORCH-Durham. Any donation will be accepted. For information about food items, visit