Mamou is a small city with a big reputation. It's billed as the "Cajun Music Capital of the World," and, as testimony of that distinction, is featured in many Cajun song titles (among them, "'Tit Galop Pour Mamou," "Valse de Grand Mamou," "Mamou Two-Step," and "Mamou Hot Step"). Mamou also shares the name with the GRAMMY award-nominated Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys.
Besides the music, there are also the history, name and Mardi Gras traditions that set Mamou apart.
Mamou was founded by Eunice land speculator and developer C.C. Duson, who promoted settlement in the area and managed to get the Southern Pacific Railroad to build a terminal in Mamou — an enviable accomplishment for a small frontier town circa 1900.
The origins of Mamou's name have been lost to history, though a few theories prevail. Mamou may be an American Indian word that translates to "mammoth," "pawpaw" and "village site." Or the name may trace back to the French surname Mamou, which would make sense considering the many French-speaking Cajun families that settled the region.
Mamou is also distinguished by its unique take on Mardi Gras. The Courir de Mardi Gras, an event that's held the morning of every Fat Tuesday, features adults on horseback riding from town to town (including Mamou) ceremonially "begging" for ingredients, to cook up a big batch of communal gumbo.