It's Mardi Gras Day! And the King is kicking off the festivities in Lafayette.

King Gabriel's Parade is the first of three parades to roll in the Hub City on this Fat Tuesday. The Lafayette Mardi Gras Festival Parade will follow at 1:00 p.m. and the Townsquare Media Independent Parade will close things out in Lafayette beginning at 2:30 p.m.

King Gabriel's Parade rolls from Surrey/Jefferson Streets to Cajun Field.

According to gomardigras.com, the Krewe of Gabriel was formed in 1949 . Dr. James Comeaux - who reigned as King Gabriel the following year - had the idea to form the krewe as a way to help the Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras Association promote Mardi Gras.

King Gabriel and Queen Evangeline - her parade was on Lundi Gras - represent "Acadian sweethearts" who were separated during Great Britain's exile of the Cajuns from Nova Scotia. The lovers were the subject of the poem "Evangeline" written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. But, as pointed out by gomardigras.com, Miss Edith Garland Dupre suggested King Gabriel and Queen Evangeline be the official names given to the City's Carnival rulers in 1934. The first King Gabriel was George Gardiner of Lafayette and the first Queen Evangeline was Mabel Broussard of Eunice.

Queen Meghan Estelle Colomb, King Gabriel Dr. Bienvenu & Queen Olivia Fox Pharr
KATC Photo
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Dr. James Carol Bienvenu - who the Advertiser points out comes from a long line of Mardi Gras royalty - reigns as King Gabriel this year.

Keep scrolling for the photo gallery below.

After the parades have ended the fun still continues into the evening as the rides, games, food, and music of Le Festival de Mardi Gras of Lafayette at Cajun Field will have plenty of excitement. All the parades end at Cajun Field.

Happy Mardi Gras, Acadiana!

King Gabriel's Parade Exclusive Photos

Exclusive Photos from Bonaparte Parade in Lafayette