For many, Lent is a time of sacrifice and self-denial, a time to prepare one’s body and mind for the Christian calendar’s holiest day: Easter.

The week or so before Lent, on the other hand, is a time to party hardy. And while nobody does Mardi Gras quite like

New Orleans, you don’t have to head down to the Big Easy for some Cajun-style debauchery.
Consider the wild festivities at Big Daddy’s in Massapequa Park. Consistently voted Long Island’s No. 1 New Orleans-style eatery, Big Daddy’s has been honoring Mardi Gras since 1992 and will be celebrating with live music and a different theme every night up until Ash Wednesday, the official start of everyone’s Lenten resolutions.

This Friday, for example, is “King Kake Night,” where revelers can sample the decadent, sugar-loaded pastry. Concealed inside the cake is a little plastic baby: Find the baby and win a prize.

But the party pinnacle, of course, is Fat Tuesday. Patrons are encouraged to come costumed and ready to chow down on all the gumbo, jambalaya and chicken etouffee they can eat. Admission is $25 in advance and $35 at the door. Be sure to bring your dancing shoes, because rhythm and roots band the King Cobras are known to get a crowd jumping.

And for those out in the Hamptons, be sure to stop by the Bay Street Theatre this Saturday for a dance party featuring popular local bands Gene Casey & the Lone Sharks and the Who Dat Loungers. The party starts at 8 p.m. and the bar will be serving up New Orleans-themed drinks. Mardi Gras beads are included with the $25 admission, so no need to flash.