Mardi Gras starts early in Washington for Louisiana stakeholders

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Mardi Gras is starting early in our nation’s capital, but it is not all fun and games.

The annual Washington Mardi Gras hosted by the Louisiana congressional delegation welcomed state and local lawmakers, lobbyists and businesses from Louisiana to network and celebrate nearly a month before Fat Tuesday.

The three day event includes music, dancing and food and ends on Saturday with the Mardi Gras ball, but local lawmakers like Caddo Parish Commission President Stormy Gage-Watts use the time to meet with Louisiana’s senators and congressmen.

“These 20-minute short meetings are better than meetings that we wait for months sometimes to get with our Senators, our congressman, our Congresswoman are here. Anyone who is part of the process of people in politics are here,” said Gage-Watts.

Lawmakers in attendance this weekend include House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and many congressmen, like Rep. Ralph Abraham and Rep. Clay Higgins.

“It’s really a great opportunity for both businesses and political leaders from all across Louisiana to come together in one place here in Washington D.C., address some of their problems that maybe they need help on federal agencies on, but also share their own stories of success with other people so we can keep replicating it and keep growing our great state,” said Rep. Scalise.

“There are a lot of conversations about things like how we get a long-term reauthorization of the flood insurance program, or how small businesses in Louisiana can partner up with other larger businesses to grow or to be able to hire more people.”

Washington Mardi Gras has been taking place in the nation’s capital since the 1940s, according to the Mystick Krewe of Louisiana's website, the official sponsors of the event.

The celebration is not supported by any state or government funds, but paid for by ticket sales, corporate donations and membership dues.