Group trying to bring Mardi Gras to Lowcountry

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Every year hundreds of thousands of people from around the world head to New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras. Well, now there is a group creating Carnival right here in the Lowcountry.

Donnie Bulliard is a transplant from St. Martinville, LA. When he moved here four years ago, he says right away he noticed something was missing -- Mardi Gras.

"It's too much fun to pass up," said Bulliard. "Its something you'll never forget as long as you live."

The Carnival season runs from the Epiphany, 12 days after Christmas to Mardi Gras day. It's a period of celebration before Lenten repentance for Catholics. While many tourists  in New Orleans treat it as a time for debauchery, Bulliard says he's glad to have a chance to get back to the real spirit of the season.

"We want to keep it very clean and we don't want it to be a drunk-fest we want this to be something the whole family can be proud they took their kids to," Bulliard said.

So they're starting the Krewe of Charleston, complete with a king,  Brett McKee of Oak Steakhouse, a queen, maids and dukes. And while it may take a few years to get the parade rolling, their first ball will be Jan. 30.

"It's more fun than your wedding. Once we have this rolling, you'll have more fun than you did at your wedding," Bulliard said.

He says they picked late January for a few reasons: it's a slow time for tourism in Charleston, it's during Carnival, and they don't want to compete with New Orleans.

"We're doing it right, doing the right way, I believe one day Charleston could be the second Mardi Gras capital of this country," Bulliard said.

After New Orleans, of course.

So far the Krewe of Charleston has 200 members and there's room for 300 more. Their next membership meeting will be at Signature Kitchens Saturday night at 6:30.