Party all day—and night
Mardi Gras at the VFW will be family-friendly, then raucous
New Orleans is a low-slung, seductively sticky and mystical city, so unique in its culture and heritage that it has a way of making visitors forget, among other things (name, wallet, inhibitions, marital obligations, how many shots they’ve taken), they’re still in the U.S. Mardi Gras is the celebration that takes everything that makes New Orleans a masterpiece of human expression and turns it into a larger-than-life human gumbo of art, music, food, booze, and freedom. Thanks to Nick Simon of LockHeart Productions, Tulsa is about to dip its toes in the party bayou with its own all-day Mardi Gras celebration, benefiting both the souls of the revelers and the local VFW, with 100% of profits going to Post 577, which is still recovering after a burglary in December.
Simon lived in Louisiana for twelve years while serving at Fort Polk as a U.S. Army medic. After his service he found himself in the party-throwing business, often combining partying with aiding in a good cause.
“I used to run a nightclub in Louisiana, and one of the skills I picked up was organizing events. I even did a few fundraisers for the VFW there,” he said.
Simon prides himself on creating highly visual, immersive environments, complete with props, performers, specialty food and drinks, and live bands, helping to transport his guests to Bourbon Street without ever having to leave Tulsa. He said he hopes “to bring the spirit of Mardi Gras to Tulsa and celebrate its inclusive eclectic appeal” by organizing a party that will go for damn-near 24 hours straight.
Festivities will begin at 11 a.m. on Feb. 10 at the VFW Post 577 (1109 E. 6th St.), and the family-friendly portion of the event will be open to the public until 3 p.m. Mike Cameron Collective will kick things off, with live performance acts and members of the Calliope Circus also providing entertainment. There’ll also be a crawfish boil for those craving that Louisiana flavor.
After 4 p.m. the event will change tempo, becoming 18+ and requiring a ticket to enter. Tickets are $17 in advance or $20 at the door and will give you access to three stages devoted to music by Cucumber and the Suntans, Marie Curie, We Make Shapes, TU All-Star Jazz Band, Feenix, and more, along with fire dancers, circus acts, stilt-walkers, burlesque performers, king cake, and Cajun cuisine. Pat O’Brien’s hurricanes, the classic sweet and strong French Quarter favorites, will be on hand. The party will last into the wee hours of the morning, with a pancake breakfast beginning at 2 a.m. and wrapping up around 5 a.m.
Order your beads, paint your mask, throw together an outlandish outfit, start hydrating, then head out to get loose for a good cause. As they say down in New Orleans, laissez les bons temps rouler—let the good times roll!
Tulsa Mardi Gras Masquerade
Saturday, Feb. 10 | VFW Post 577
11 a.m.–3 p.m.: free and open to the public
4 p.m.–2 a.m.: 18+, $17–$20
2–5 a.m.: pancake breakfast