Swap that batter for gumbo because on 5 February, the carnival spirit of the Deep South will take to the riverside of the South Bank. Live music from the Kansas Smitty’s House Band will lead the heady crowds of the costume parade fronted by the glorious performers of Shotgun Carousel.

This year, Smitty’s House Band explores a different side of the sound of New Orleans, bringing you gritty funk, soul, zydeco and brass band classics that define ‘swamp rock’ – guaranteed to transport you to the heart of a ninth ward dive bar. Then it’s along the South Bank to the atmospheric Vaults where the King and Queen of Mardi Gras 2016 will be crowned to the toast of the finest spirits this side of Louisiana, and the music won’t stop till dawn.

Leave your inhibitions at the riverbank and raise a jar to the vibe of the year. Love, accolade and prizes will go to the most elaborate, imaginative and outlandish costumes, so bring your beads and come as your sinful self and get loose.

Fat Tuesday / Mardis Gras Friday 5 February 10pm-3am at the Vaults on London’s South Bank www.mardigrasldn.com