The new year has officially begun, and that means one thing in St. Tammany Parish: it’s almost time for Mardi Gras! Carnival season officially kicks off January 7, and the Louisiana Northshore is the place to be for all things festive and fun. The calendar is packed with celebrations, culinary experiences, parades, and more until Fat Tuesday, and we’ve got the top 10 ways to laissez les bon temps rouler in St. Tammany Parish this year.
Partake in a Parade
Is it even Carnival season without parades the parades? Communities across St. Tammany Parish will serve as hosts to a variety of parades during the season, all of which are “Gee-rated” so the whole family can get in on the fun.
Eat King Cake
The King Cake has a long history in Mardi Gras tradition. There are many varieties on this oval-shaped, braided ring cake, which tastes like a delicious mix between a cinnamon coffee cake and French pastry, and the Louisiana Northshore is home to a number of bakeries that offer their own can’t miss cakes. No excuse is needed to try them all, and while there, be sure to check out the other can-only-find-it-here King Cake themed items like King Cake-flavored snowballs, martinis, and cookies.
Celebrate with a Local Brew
The Abita Brewery is located on the Louisiana Northshore. Once located in the quaint community of Abita Springs, the brewery is now located just a mile down the road in Covington after outgrowing its original location. This local favorite brews its very own King Cake Soda especially for Mardi Gras season, as well as Mardi Gras Bock. Another local nanobrewery, Chafunkta Brewing Company offers Foolish Flambeaux, a King Cake-flavored beer, for the season as well.
Mardi Gras on the Louisiana Northshore is truly a celebration for everyone, and that includes four legged friends as well. A highlight of Carnival in St. Tammany Parish are the many pooch parades, including the Krewe de Paws of Olde Towne Slidell, Mandeville’s Krewe du Pooch, and Covington’s Mystic Krewe of Mardi Paws.
Local boutiques throughout St. Tammany Parish offer items of all types in the classic Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold. Stop by one of the many boutiques for jewelry, T-shirts, candles, and more.
Learn the History
Part of the fun of Carnival season is understanding its unique history. Slidell’s Mardi Gras Museum houses a collection of more than 800 pieces of Mardi Gras memorabilia, including costumes, scepters, goblets, and throws.
Create Carnival-Themed Crafts
With Mardi Gras on the Louisiana Northshore being an event for the whole family, it’s a great time to explore the family’s crafty side and try a few arts and crafts projects with the kids. Hammer & Stain in Covington has all the supplies and tools needed to craft home décor, while Lori’s Art Depot in Slidell hosts all sorts of workshops for kids and adults alike. Culinary Kids Northshore offers cooking and learning opportunities with skilled instructors.
Check out the Sweet Culinary Traditions
Mardi Gras may be all about King Cake, but when in Louisiana, it’s a must to try out its other unique and delicious dessert offerings. LaLou in Mandeville is known for its Mardi Gras waffles, while Bosco’s Italian Café’s pastry filled with crawfish and topped with Parmesan cheese is a local favorite as well. Other must tries include Creole Bagelry & Café’s Madi Gras bagel, Old Town Slidell Soda Shop’s King Cake ice cream soda, and King Cake-flavored ice cream.
Listen Like a Local
To truly feel like a local this Mardi Gras season, check out Poppy Tooker’s podcast. A native New Orleanian, Poppy is host of an NPR-affiliated radio show and podcast, Louisiana Eats!, that shares all sorts of unique stories about the Louisiana Northshore’s culinary scene and Louisiana’s food culture.
Carnival starts just 12 days after Christmas, and the eight-week-long celebration is one you’ll want to experience exclusively in St. Tammany Parish. The Louisiana Northshore offers a variety of accommodations, from boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts to five-star hotels, and now’s the time to book your getaway.
For more information about St. Tammany Parish and its Mardi Gras events, visit www.LouisianaNorthshore.com/MardiGras.