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Downtown Brookhaven will get jazzy next weekend

Mardi Gras revelers can look forward to a longer route this year as the party makes a loop around the block before disbanding in front of Four Way Stop for a street dance.

Downtown Jazzed Up takes place Feb. 15 from 4 until 9 p.m. Organized by the Brookhaven Tourism Council and the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, the event features music, beads, food and a second-line foot parade.

“It’s a family-friendly event and kids will leave with plenty of beads. We’ll have other throws and some great music,” said Chamber Program Director Katie Nations.

The only streets blocked will be on South Railroad Street from East Chickasaw to East Cherokee streets from 4 to 9 p.m.

The second-line jazz parade starts at 6 p.m. at the same spot the Christmas parade starts at West Cherokee and North Jackson streets. A jazz band from Brookhaven High School will lead the way and pedestrians are encouraged to join in behind them for the parade.

Second line is a tradition in brass band parades in New Orleans. The “main line” or “first line” is the main section of the parade, and the second line is anyone who wants to join in as the parade passes by.

Everyone is encouraged to participate.

“This is a walking parade,” Nations said. “We would encourage everyone to join in on the fun by decorating their bikes, golf carts and scooters, but nothing larger than a side-by-side.”

The parade will continue along to North Railroad Avenue and will turn left and travel to East Monticello Street, turn left, cross the railroad tracks, then turn left on South Whitworth Avenue. It will make another left turn at West Cherokee Street and end at North Railroad Avenue in time for the street dance with Four Way Stop at 6:30 p.m.

“We have extended the route to pass by our restaurants,” Nations said. “That’s something they’ve asked for year after year and the kids enjoy it so we’re going to make that parade just a little bit longer.”

Nations said prior to the parade, several free activities will be available. Brookhaven Law will offer beignets and coffee Jump & Jive will have free inflatable jumpers available for children, both from 4-6 p.m. There will also be face painting.

New this year will be a Cajun Cook-Off. Businesses and individuals will compete with dishes in four categories — gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice and étouffée. Small samples will be provided to the public on a first-come, first-served basis, and a winner will be chosen in each category and overall by local “celebrity” judges.

“We hope to have a friendly competition,” she said.

To participate in the cook-off, call 601-833-1411.