The number one misconception of Mardi Gras is that it's all party and no family. One look at the crowds of New Orleans' favorite daytime parades tells another story, and on the Northshore, family-fun activities are the primary focus. Local parades trot, float and walk their routes long before bedtime. The towns of Louisiana's Northshore are ideal for picnic lunchin', tag chasing, and memory-making during Carnival as the parade-goers party in the streets to popular G-rated themes.
Being an energetic, adorable child on Louisiana's Northshore is an absolute win. Since the English Renaissance era, beads have been a festive throw from the float riders. In recent decades, doubloons, cups, trinkets, stuffed animals and fun memorabilia have been added to the list of popular throw items. Grab a grocery bag (or two), a wagon and lawn chairs, and get your hands in the air as you holler, "Throw me something, mister!"
It's not a celebration without our four-legged family. On Louisiana's Northshore, matching our pooch in funky attire and marching to the beat of treats is a party in itself. Participate or watch as the towns of Slidell, Covington and Mandeville parade all colors, sizes, and personalities. Krewe de Paws of Olde Towne, the Mystic Krewe of Mardi Paws, and new for 2020, Krewe du Pooch respectively, are the lagniappe of the season.
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.
Louisiana cuisine is undeniably delicious, locals and travelers alike rave about the Southern flavor that arouses the taste buds. During Carnival, the sweetest of sweets can be smelled, sampled, and devoured across Louisiana's Northshore. The King Cake, traditionally an oval-shaped, baked cinnamon-y cake, somewhere between a coffee cake and French pastry, is filled with an assortment of flavorful fillings, topped with cream cheese icing, and sprinkled with purple, green, and gold. The ultimate sweet is a must-taste tradition, order from Randazzo's Camellia City Bakery in Slidell and receive a free copy of the Explore the Northshore visitor guide. Photo: LOLA's version, an Oooey Gooey King Cake.
Purple, green, gold are the colors of Mardi Gras - with a little glitter, of course! Shoes, tops, and accessories of all sizes, patterns, and phrases decorate the shelves across Louisiana's Northshore. Make sure to leave a little room in your bags. Our local boutiques are the hot spot for the fiercest Carnival attire.
Always dreamed of being the one throwing the beads? On Louisiana's Northshore your dream has come true! There's nothing like the adrenaline rush of being in a parade. Local parades throughout the season, including Krewe of Push Mow, Krewe de Paws of Olde Towne, and Mystic Krewe of Mardi Paws allow you to pay a small fee to join in hosting the fun. On Mardi Gras--Tuesday, February 25, 2020--join Carnival in Covington as they celebrate 61 years of parading through the streets of downtown Covington, or one of the eclectic town parades with the Krewe of Bush, Krewe of Chahta or Krewe of Folsom. Contact the Krewes directly for information on how to participate, or just the best viewing spots to relax and enjoy the fun.
Though the Northshore is focused on family fun, we know how to pour a cold beverage too. Taste the culture at Abita Brewery, ranked in Forbes' top 50 largest craft breweries in the nation, nestled in the quaint town of Abita Springs. They even brew their own King Cake Soda in honor of the season. Chafunkta Brewing Company is a small-batch, high-quality, brewed with love, must-taste brewery. Just across from the Mandeville Trailhead, try the house brews at Old Rail Brewing Company. Venture to the countryside to taste Louisiana's own fermented grapes at Pontchartrain Vineyards and Serendipity Vineyards.
Louisiana's Northshore is an outdoor lovers' paradise, with over 80,000 acres of wildlife preserve, and the bayous are a rich and thriving eco-system ready to explore. With two state parks, Fontainebleau in Mandeville and Fairview-Riverside in Madisonville, the hiking trails, waterways, and sightseeing are one-of-a-kind. Get up close and personal as you feed, pet, and selfie with exotic wildlife at Global Wildlife Center and Insta-Gator Ranch & Hatchery.
Photo courtesy to Cajun Encounters
With the Carnival season beginning just twelve short days after Christmas, the eight-week-long celebration is the time for a rejuvenating and reinvigorating weekend getaway. St. Tammany Parish has a room just for you, from boutique hotels, Bed & Breakfasts to your favorite corporate hotel line, the affordability and proximity to New Orleans' French Quarter is unbeatable.