Carnival season returns in St. Tammany Parish on January 7, 2023, with Twelfth Night celebrations, so beginning the season of revelry unique to southeast Louisiana. We have many ways to celebrate on the Northshore... parades will roll (or stroll, or strut), kings and queens will be crowned at Carnival Krewe Balls and all things purple, green and gold will adorn streets, houses, people and pups. It all culminates on Fat Tuesday, February 21, 2023, with celebrations right up to midnight. See how we let the good times roll in St. Tammany--check out our ideas below, then grab your Krewe and geaux!
Northshore parades are an experience the whole family can enjoy. Pack the parade snacks, ice chest, chairs and bring your bead bag, too. When it's time, get your hands up and shout, "Throw me something, Mister!" Members of the Mardi Gras krewe will throw beads and trinkets to all as they pass by. Check out the Northshore parade schedule to plan your season, and remember--Mardi Gras isn't a sprint, it's a marathon.
The King Cake, traditionally an oval-shaped, braided ring, somewhere between a cinnamon-y coffee cake and French pastry, is filled with an assortment of flavorful fillings, topped with cream cheese or sugary icing, and sprinkled with purple, green, and gold sugar crystals. Check out our King Cakes page to see local vendors, and be sure to sample this must-taste tradition before the season ends!
Though the Northshore is focused on family fun, we know how to pour a cold beverage too. Taste the culture at Abita Brewery nestled in the quaint town of Abita Springs. They brew their own King Cake Soda in honor of the season, and the annual local favorite, Mardi Gras Bock. A crowler (or two) of Chafunkta Brewing Company's Foolish Flambeaux, a King Cake flavored beer, will put you in the Mardi Gras mood. Kappy's Daiquiri and Sports has a King Cake flavored daiquiri on the menu. See more seasonal specials in our blog, Fat Tuesday Feasting.
Even pups get in the Mardi Gras spirit and join parades on the Louisiana Northshore! Krewe de Paws of Olde Towne Slidell is always a tail-wagging good time. Mandeville's Krewe du Pooch and the Mystic Krewe of Mardi Paws, which rolls through Covington, put on paw-fect parades and fur-bulous afterparties, too. These two dog parades roll on the weekend following Fat Tuesday.
Purple, green, gold are the colors of Mardi Gras - with a little glitter, of course! Our local boutiques are the hot spot for the fiercest Carnival attire. Order a Mardi Gras charm, necklace, or bracelet from Northshore native and artist Jose Balli. Stop by Fleurty Girl in Mandeville or Black Flower Apparel in Covington to purchase some fun and flirty Mardi Gras merch, like T-shirts, earrings and more. Swing by Green Oaks Apothecary in Slidell for King Cake candles, bath bombs and homemade soaps to enjoy when you are taking a break from walking the parade routes. Discover more places to find that perfect bit of decoration on our shopping page.
Connect to the celebration by exploring the history of Carnival. Slidell's Mardi Gras Museum is a must-visit on the Northshore. The museum houses a collection of over 800 pieces of Carnival memorabilia-dresses, costumes, scepters, goblets and throws, and historical scrapbooks of past kings and queens. Call for tour dates and times to brush up on your Mardi Gras traditions and history.
Sweater weather is a great time to explore your creative side with arts and craft projects, or learn a new skill. Culinary Kids Northshore provides kids, adults and families with opportunities to enjoy cooking and learning from skilled instructors. Hammer & Stain in Covington provides you with all the supplies and tools to make your own home décor. Meanwhile fine art workshops for kids, teens and adults can be found at Lori’s Art Depot in Slidell and at the St. Tammany Art Association in Covington.
Step away from the traditional and try some unique takes on the King Cake! Make a unique King Cake right at home with this recipe for LOLA's Ooey Gooey King Cake or try other King Cake creations while heading to the parades. Stop at LaLou in Mandeville for a Mardi Gras waffle. Or, taste Bosco's Italian Café's flaky pastry filled with creamy crawfish and topped with colorful Parmesan cheese. Not to be outdone, Creole Bagelry & Café gives its kettle-boiled, authentic New York-style bagel a twist with their Mardi Gras Bagel. Still, sweets rule the day as others give their spin on the season: Copeland’s of New Orleans has a King Cake Cheesecake, and Old Town Slidell Soda Shop offers both King Cake Ice Cream Soda and king cake-flavored ice cream.
Listen to Poppy Tooker’s podcast on Randazzo’s Camellia City Bakery and ship one of their king cakes to a friend or relative during Carnival season. Established in 1965, the Slidell bakery continues a long family tradition of braided king cakes, handmade from scratch, and has been featured by The Food Network, Good Morning America, Rachael Ray and USA Today, just to name a few accolades. Poppy Tooker is a native New Orleanian who has spent her life immersed in the vibrant colors and flavors of her hometown. Poppy’s NPR-affiliated radio show and podcast, Louisiana Eats!, carries her message state-wide and beyond, taking listeners into the fields, the waters, the markets and kitchens to hear from the people who maintain the state’s storied food traditions and create new culinary magic inspired by the wealth of Louisiana’s food culture.
With the Carnival season beginning just twelve short days after Christmas, the eight-week-long celebration is the time to keep the excitement and energy flowing into a weekend getaway—especially if you want to catch multiple parades. St. Tammany Parish has a room just for you, from boutique hotels and bed & breakfasts to your favorite corporate hotel line, the affordability and proximity to New Orleans' French Quarter is unbeatable. The best part—Louisiana Northshore accommodations are steps away from local parade routes, shopping, dining and much more, and parking is free wherever you go. St. Tammany is also a great option for south shore residents wanting a little break from the extra million-ish visitors it sees during Carnival season!