With Carnival season officially underway in Louisiana, the charming coastal communities in the Bayou State are welcoming a unique audience to their Mardi Gras festivities: Families! At its heart, Mardi Gras has always been about faith, family and fun and – while New Orleans may be the most famous place to partake in Mardi Gras – these destinations know how to celebrate the season in big ways …family style!
Metairie (Jefferson Parish):
A neighboring parish to New Orleans, Jefferson Parish is so family-oriented that Mardi Gras in this destination has an official event called “Family Gras.” Taking place the weekend of February 14-16 in Metairie, the festivities here include five Mardi Gras parades, authentic cuisine, local art, a kids’ Mardi Gras court, a family-friendly Mardi Gras 5K and Kids’ Half Mile, and concerts by national and regional artists.
If you’ve ever dreamed of participating in the parade, now’s your chance! The Country Inn & Suites by Radisson Centurions Package includes an opportunity to ride on one of the floats in the Krewe of Centurions Parade on February 15.
Louisiana Northshore (St. Tammany Parish):
Located a short 40 minutes from the French Quarter, the family-friendly Mardi Gras festivities in St. Tammany Parish are quirky and unforgettable. Whether Krewes are parading boats, floats, dogs or lawn mowers (yes, you read that right!), Mardi Gras on the Northshore includes lots of family-friendly fun … and loot!
The Krewe of Mardi Paws is a parade designed for canine participants and their people. Coming at the tail end of each Carnival season, the parade rolls at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 1, 2020 in charming downtown Covington. This year’s theme is “Beyond All Boundaries: Exploring Sea, Air & Space.”
Houma, Louisiana (Terrebonne Parish):
With daytime and evening parades, Bayou Country hosts more than a dozen family-friendly parades for visitors to “pass a good time.” In addition to the double-decker New Orleans-style floats and affordable lodging, if king cake is your favorite part of the season, Houma’s got you covered. Bayou Country is home to two People’s Choice Winners of the New Orleans King Cake Festival, Cannata’s Snickerdoodle Gooey Butter King Cake and Mr. Ronnie’s donut king cake.
Lake Charles, Louisiana (Calcasieu Parish):
Mardi Gras celebrations and history abound in Lake Charles. In fact, Mardi Gras can be celebrated year-round here at the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu, which is home to the largest Mardi Gras costume display in the world. Visitors to the museum can also climb aboard a parade float to experience the excitement of this tradition for themselves.
The Mardi Gras Lighted Boat Parade takes place on the water instead of the streets. Featuring glowing boats parading on shimmering Lake Charles, this season’s event takes place on February 20 at 7 p.m. And the Cinderella night of the Mardi Gras season is the Royal Gala at the Lake Charles Civic Center. Here at the only event of its kind in the entire state, attendees can see the royal courts of more than 60 krewes parade in full costume. The celebration takes place on February 24 at 7 p.m. and children ages 5 and younger are free.
Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou (Lafourche Parish):
Visitors are invited to celebrate a Cajun Mardi Gras in Lafourche Parish, just 35 miles south of New Orleans, With 16 family-friendly parades flowing up and down the Bayou, it’s evident that Cajuns love to celebrate life and there’s no better time to do that than during Mardi Gras. The smells of barbeques and crawfish boils fill the air along parade routes, so you’re sure to experience a very authentic taste of Cajun life here. It’s a popular saying that Cajuns never meet a stranger, so visitors shouldn’t be surprised to be invited to share a plate, a dance or pass the time!
For more information or to start planning your visit to Coastal Louisiana, visit Houma Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Visit Jefferson Parish, Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau, Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, Lafourche Parish and Louisiana Northshore (St. Tammany Parish).
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