Mardi Gras celebration raises money for local pantries

IRONS — The colorfully decorated basement of St. Bernard's Catholic Church in Irons took guests to a scene of New Orleans with authentic Louisiana cooking last Tuesday, during a Mardi Gras celebration to kick off the Lenten season.

Nearly 100 parishioners from St. Bernard, St. Ann and St. Ignatius parishes in Lake County, and guests, came together to enjoy a time of delicious food and opportunities to win gift baskets.

Free-will donations and other proceeds were given to benefit Bread of Life Food Pantry in Baldwin and Matthew 25:35 Food Pantry in Manistee. Organizers of the Bread of Life pantry decided to give all the proceeds to the pantry in Manistee.

Many took the opportunity to wear loads of beads and colorful clothing. Folks had a chance to win prizes for best costume.

The menu, prepared from recipes by Louisiana native David Chatelain and his wife, Mary, included generous portions of chicken and sausage gumbo, red beans and rice, jambalaya and seasoned green beans.

A variety of desserts included pecan pie, bread pudding with caramel sauce, sweet potato pie, and a Mardi Gras tradition of King cake.

This was the first Mardi Gras celebration hosted at the church in about four years. Chatelain was happy with the support and turnout for the event.