Mardi Gras sounds and a party atmosphere will burst onto the stage Saturday at Theatre at the Center.

Creole Stomp, a Louisiana-style band, brings its festive show to the Munster venue that evening for an early Fat Tuesday celebration.

The band, which is based in Southern Illinois, regularly plays Creole blues, Cajun-zydeco and other styles.

"We bring a traditional Louisiana Mardi Gras experience and Cajun-Creole music to audiences," said Dennis Stroughmatt, the group's leader. Stroughmatt is also the band's fiddle and accordion player.

"We hope we transport people to Louisiana," Stroughmatt said. Music fans who've seen performances by Creole Stomp talk about its high energy and rich sounds. Audiences often want to dance during the rousing shows.

The musician said Creole Stomp plays concerts year-round with the Mardi Gras season being an especially popular time for the band's shows.

Stroughmatt, who speaks Creole French, said Creole French is "part of my ancestry." The musician said he strives to bring authentic sounds to the concert stage and is very focused on strong musical traditions.

"I ended up moving to Louisiana  and worked in Louisiana for several years," Stroughmatt said, adding he wanted to experience the traditional music. "I worked in Cajun and Creole bands."

Creole Stomp was established 16 years ago. Stroughmatt said the Cajun-Creole musical tradition is something he continues to find exciting and he wants to pass that enthusiasm along.

"We do about 100 to 120 shows a year," he said. With the Creole Stomp Munster show, Stroughmatt said he hopes audience members will feel a festive spirit.

"We want to bring some of the feel of Mardi Gras to them," he said.

In addition to the performance, guests can indulge in a full Mardi Gras experience at Theatre at the Center. The center will present a special Mardi Gras meal courtesy of Chef Joe Trama and his culinary team.

On the Mardi Gras menu will be Blackened Tilapia; Creole Shrimp; Spicy Sliders; Chicken Gumbo; Dirty Rice; Cajun Pasta; Fried Pickles; and Bananas Foster.


Features reporter

Eloise writes about food and entertainment for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight children in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.