Decorated boats cruise the Tchefuncte River in Madisonville on the Sunday prior to Mardi Gras each year. The 2018 parade theme is "The Krewe of Tchefuncte Celebrates a Pirate's Life."
The parade starts at Salty's Marina, then heads downriver and turns around to dock on both the north and south sides of the Hwy 22 bridge. King Neptune's Marching Society precedes the boat parade by marching down Water Street to the reviewing stand.
Organized in 1973, the Krewe of Tchefuncte's boat parade grew out of a love for the Tchefuncte River and the traditions and history of the Town of Madisonville. The Krewe celebrates maritime life on the historic river, located on LA-Hwy 22 between Mandeville and Ponchatoula. Founded in 1817, Madisonville is one of the oldest communities in Louisiana and is the oldest permanent settlement in St. Tammany Parish.
Mardi Gras in Madisonville has a long history that dates back to 1891 when the first Mardi Gras Ball was held in town at the United Benevolent Hall by the Women's Progressive Club. For 122 years, the tradition has been sporadically celebrated with Balls, street parades and, for the past 42 years, with the Krewe of Tchefuncte Boat Parade and Ball.