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Fort Laudi Gras Takes Over Himmarshee's SW Third Avenue This Weekend

For those already indoctrinated into the uniquely American institution that is New Orleans' annual Mardi Gras Carnival, you're most likely already beginning to feel the pangs of FOMO as this Fat Tuesday, February 9, approaches.

Though it's celebrated in various incarnations all around the world, Mardi Gras in New Orleans takes on a life of its own, transforming the iconic Southern city that birthed jazz and the blues into a riotous playground of booze, beads, delicious local fare, and of course, unparalleled live music — marching down the streets, bumping from sidewalk corners, and streaming from the dozens of cozy, grit-and-love-worn dive bars.

Thankfully, Fort Lauderdalians pining to get in on some of the action won't have to travel far. The creative team behind the adjoining America's Backyard, Revolution Live, and Stache venues in downtown's Himmarshee district have put together a two-day mini Mardi Gras carnival this weekend — cleverly dubbed Fort Laudi Gras — during which they'll close down their block of SW Third Avenue and invite revelers to get into the spirit with authentic New Orleans Mardi Gras music, food, and street performers.

Beginning at 3:30 this Saturday, the family-friendly event kicks off with a typical New Orleans-style crawfish boil from local purveyors of Big Easy fare Shuck 'N' Dive, pounds of fresh oysters, and ice cold craft beer from Louisiana's own Abita Brewing Company. At 4 p.m., the live music starts up as jazz and brass bands Lee Boys, Bobby Lee Rodgers Trio, and Parker Urban Band take turns filling up the street with feel-good festival sounds inspired by the bayou.

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Live street performers, beads, and a costume contest will round out the weekend-long festivities. And best of all, admission to the event is free. There's nothing else on earth quite like New Orleans Mardi Gras, a season of parades, balls, and debauchery that lasts through the week leading up to Fat Tuesday each year. For those of us who can't make it to the real thing, though, Fort Laudi Gras is a much-welcomed next-best alternative.

Fort Laudi Gras
With Lee Boys, Bobby Lee Rodgers Trio, and Parker Urban Band. 3:30 p.m., Saturday, February 5 through 6, at America's Backyard, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale 33312. Admission is free. Visit Facebook for more info.

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