When planning a trip for Mardi Gras, New Orleans is the first destination that usually comes to mind for many travelers. But if you’re looking for a more family-friendly Mardi Gras experience with tons of options to experience Louisiana’s famous flavors, check out Shreveport-Bossier’s parades and celebrations. Read on for a guide to where to eat in the sister cities before and after its one-of-a-kind parades.
Located in the Northwest corner of Louisiana, Shreveport-Bossier’s culture is a mixture of spicy Cajun attitude and wide-open Texas spirit. The southern town is best known for its six resort-style casinos and horse racing track, as well as its 65 festivals and annual events. In true Louisiana fashion, visitors can enjoy mouthwatering Creole, Cajun and soul food, hold a baby alligator, and find live music year-round. Mardi Gras festivities kick off each January with the Krewe of Sobek parade and continue through Fat Tuesday, or the day before Ash Wednesday, which signals the start of the Catholic Lenten season.
Parade: Krewe of Harambee Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade, Jan. 21
The sister cities are home to the only Mardi Gras parade dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr. in the world. Spectators can celebrate the civil rights leader during the Krewe of Harambee Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade in the heart of downtown Shreveport. Parade goers can see marching bands, stilt walkers, dozens of floats and catch lots of beads.
Eat: Gumbo at Orlandeaux’s Café
Orlandeaux’s Café, formerly known as Brother’s Seafood, has a 97-year history that encompasses four generations of family ownership, so you’d better believe the gumbo here means business. A dark, rich roux provides the base while tender, dark-meat chicken and spicy andouille sausage deliver a soulful wallop of Louisiana flavor.
Parade: Krewe of Centaur Parade, Feb. 23, and Krewe of Gemini Parade, March 2
Shreveport-Bossier is also home to two of the largest parades in the south: the Krewe of Centaur parade and Krewe of Gemini parade. The two parades roll on the same five-and-a-half-mile route which begins in downtown Shreveport and ends in the Broadmoor neighborhood.
Eat: Crawfish Cornbread at Proud Mary 360 Grill
Crawfish meets comfort food in this uniquely Southern appetizer. Crawfish tails and the “holy trinity” of onions, bell peppers, and celery are baked into a huge wedge of golden brown cornbread, then topped with crawfish étouffée. As the Cajuns say, “Ça c’est bon!”
Parade: Krewe of Highland Parade XXIV, March 3
Shreveport’s most eccentric krewe welcomes everyone to attend this funky, family-friendly parade in the historic Highland Neighborhood. The krewe is famous for its unpredictable throws including ramen noodles and hot dogs.
Eat: Beignets at Marilynn’s Place
Looking for the perfect parade day breakfast? Try the beignets at Marilynn’s Place – fresh, airy pastries covered in powdered sugar and best enjoyed with a cup of coffee.
Lagniappe: Us Up North Food Tour
If you and your group are looking to dive into the local food scene, take the Us Up North Food Tour with Chef Hardette Harris, the creator of the Official Meal of North Louisiana. The Us Up North Food tour begins in Chef Harris’s private restaurant with a cooking demonstration of hot water corn bread and tasting of greens from the Official Meal of North Louisiana. Next, tour participants board a shuttle with Chef Harris and visit some of her favorite local spots that serve up the best dishes that Shreveport-Bossier has to offer. Learn more at www.FoodToursLouisiana.com.
Shreveport-Bossier is home to eight Mardi Gras parades annually. For a complete parade schedule and more information about Shreveport-Bossier’s Mardi Gras, visit https://www.shreveport-bossier.org/mardigras/enter