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Mardi Gras on New Orleans' NorthShore

Updated on December 20, 2014
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Louisiana has many unique sites and interesting places to visit. Yvonne enjoys sharing her knowledge of local history, customs and events.

Mardi Gras in Covington and St. Tammany Parish

If you enjoy Mardi Gras, but don't want to brave the hustle and bustle of New Orleans, then Carnival on the North Shore is the place for you and your family. There are plenty of parades, costumes and throws and the pace is much slower and more family friendly than the Big Easy. Mardi Gras on the North Shore reminds one of times gone by, when several generations of a family could dress in costumes, bring a meal and enjoy the festivities. We hope you enjoy this virtual trip to Mardi Gras in St. Tammany Parish.

Mardi Gras is a State of Mind

Mardi Gras is Enjoyed by Young and Old

Although my husband was born in New Orleans, he has lived most of his adult life in Baton Rouge and Covington, but the fun of Mardi Gras runs through his veins. He has been attending carnival parades since he was a little boy. In fact, sometimes three generations of his family would go to the Mardi Gras. For the last 30 years or so, Mardi Gras Fever has been spreading north from New Orleans. Many towns on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain have been organizing parades and Krewes for years.

Go to the Mardi Gras by Professor Longhair

Turn on your speakers and click on the video to hear, "Go to the Mardi Gras". It will help you get in the spirit while you read the page.

Parades on the North Shore are much quieter and more family oriented. It's like it was in the old days where families stake out their spot on the parade route and bring their tail-gating feasts and specially constructed Mardi Gras ladders for the kids.

We park the van along the route the day before the Covington Lion's Club parade and have it stocked with supplies and Mardi Gras music. We usually mask, too. Now that we are more mature, this easy, more sedate form of Mardi Gras is just right. We enjoy the day, catch and throw many beads and trinkets and are home by 3:00 p.m. with plenty of loot to share with family and friends or put in the attic for next year.


North Shore VS South Shore

Which would you rather attend?

Give me the crush of crowds and night life of New Orleans

Give me the crush of crowds and night life of New Orleans

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    • MissMalaprop 4 years ago

      South Shore baby! I grew up on the MS Gulf Coast, and have been to a few Northshore / Baton Rouge / Metairie parades as well, but the parades are not my favorite part of Mardi Gras anyway. I don't care about catching beads, I care about costuming and the happy essence of Mardi Gras. I don't see nearly as many people really get into the costuming aspect of it at parades in the suburbs. (Although I would love to see that change!)

    • getmoreinfo 5 years ago

      Ha Ha I will be different, lets try south shore.

    A North Shore Mardi Gras for the family sounds good to me

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      • exotickitten731 5 years ago

        ahh i will definitely go for covington and st tammany next year = ] ty for this lens , keep up the good work = ]

      • NC Shepherd 5 years ago

        A little less wild for me, thanks.

      • Country Sunshine 5 years ago from Texas

        I've attended New Orleans Mardi Gras a few times. While it was great, I think as I get older, I'd like to try out the North Shore one

      • Michey LM 5 years ago

        Ge! it is hard to say... at list you you participate in both... which I don't, but you convinced me about North Shore

      • jenniferteacher1 5 years ago

        I'm from BR and always found The French Quarter a little too claustrophobic at Mardi Gras.

      • E L Seaton 5 years ago from Virginia

        Slidell LA Mardi Gra parades were great for the family. Sign me up for another one or two.

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        North Shore, but, if I was 30 years younger I would be all over the South Shore!

      • Lee Hansen 6 years ago from Vermont

        I think I'd really prefer the Mardi Gras parade on the North Shore. Fun without the mayhem. Hey, the gold crown photo at the star of this lens, with the king and queen on a parade float - caught my eye. Let the Good Times Roll!

      • Yvonne L. B. 8 years ago from Covington, LA

        It's the Northshore for us. At our age, we like to enjoy the parades and catch some beads and be back home by 2:00 p.m.

      Parades and Schedules for St. Tammany Parish

      St. Tammany Parish, on Lake Pontchartrain's North Shore has quite a few colorful and entertaining parades. All are family oriented so you should not run into the "girls gone wild" behavior that is rampant on the South Shore in New Orleans.

      There are several pages that list Mardi Gras Parade Schedules for both New Orleans and St. Tammany Parish. Here are a couple:

      Mardi Gras Parade Schedule Mardi Gras Parade Schedule

      Carnival Time by Al Johnson

      Another great Mardi Gras song that will make you want to dance.

      North Shore Mardi Gras

      One of the first events that we attended when we moved to Covington was Mardi Gras. Compared to New Orleans, the parade on Mardi Gras Day is a small affair, but it is enjoyed by young and old alike. You won't see the same debauchery that is rampant in the French Quarter, but as we age, the need for that kind of baudy fun decreases. We'd like to show you what Mardi Gras is like on the northshore. So sit back and enjoy a virtual trip (with pointers) to Mardi Gras in Covington, Louisiana on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain.

      Planning is the key to enjoying Mardi Gras. First you need to stake out a good spot, or know someone who does. Each year we park the van in our hand picked spot on the parade route, the day before the parade.

      We stock it with all the necessities, including decorations, music, beads to throw to the kids before the parade, folding chairs, food, drink and a porta potty. We usually sit on top of the van, so that we will be on eye level with most of the floats and trucks. With the decorations and the eye contact, most krewe members throw us plenty.

      Celebrating on the North Shore

      On lean years or when the parade is making a second pass, Al pulls out the secret weapon and we usually get pounded with beads. We had to modify it to stay current after the Janet Jackson Super Bowl costume malfunction.

      Secret Weapon Costume

      Doggy Friends can Mask, too

      Covington and Mandeville both have Mardi Gras parades for Dogs. There are floats and a King and Queen, complete with costumes and throws.

      Darth Vader Outfit for Dogs

      Star Wars Medium Darth Vader Pet Costume
      Star Wars Medium Darth Vader Pet Costume

      Rio, our dog, would look great as Darth Vader. The little fat cocker spaniel could be Yoda.


      Iko Iko by the Dixie Cups

      More classic Mardi Gras music for your listening enjoyment.

      Ico Ico by the Dixie Cups

      Throw Me Somethin', Mister!

      2006 Mardi Gras

      Post Katrina

      Themes of the parade vary according to what has happened during the year. These photos were taken in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina pounded Louisiana and Mississippi.


      The theme of the day among revelers and parade participants was FEMA post Katrina survival.

      Families dressed in the blue tarps which were still seen on many roof tops throughout Southern Louisiana.

      Tales of FEMA woes and the infamous hazardous trailers were everywhere. The x marks places on damaged homes were displayed as well.

      Some floats celebrated the good old days of the sixties. The people of Louisiana are resilient and usually try to make the best of a situation.

      Happier Times for Mardi Gras 2007

      Mardi Gras 2007 was a little more light-hearted than the previous year. I knighted Sir Al as my Champion and the parades rolled with much gaiety and laughter. We danced the Electric Slide and had a great time.


      Knight Costume

      Electric Boogie

      The Electric Slide is one of our favorite dances. It's fun to do it between parades and very often others will join in and have fun dancing in the street.

      Costumes and Masking

      Many families mask and some of the costumes are really creative. Mardi Gras is enjoyed by the old and the young and every age in between.


      You're Only as Young as You Feel!

      Purple, Green and Gold Cat in the Hat

      Painted T-Shirts

      I want to be like them when I grow up! Hey ladies, where did you get those shirts?

      Cat in the Hat Accesories

      Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat Adult Accessory Kit by elope
      Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat Adult Accessory Kit by elope

      Dress as the Cat in the Hat or be like Al and do it in purple, green and gold.


      Mother and Daughter Coachroaches

      Cockroach Costume


      Here's a creepy costume like the mother and daughter that we saw at the parade.


      Abita Springs Lawn Mower Parade

      Abita Springs is one of the smaller communities in St. Tammany Parish. This town is known for its pure spring waters and is where delicious Abita Beer is brewed. It also organizes a very unique and entertaining Mardi Gras Lawn Mower Parade... at Mardi Gras, almost anything goes. We entered one year and won a prize for our Krewe of Sheets "float".


      King Sheet


      The Queen of Sheets accepts the prize for the float with the most creative theme.

      Mardi Gras 2008

      In 2008, the Covington Parade on Mardi Gras day was back in full force. The day was beautiful and people were hopeful and relaxed. Families lined the parade route and set up specially designed Mardi Gras ladders with seats so that their children could sit up high to see the parade.

      We took many photos of the parade. Here are some of the best shots. It's almost as good as being there, except, you can't catch the beads. Enjoy!

      Lion's Club Covington Parade 2008

      Click thumbnail to view full-size

      Star Noir Mardi Gras Card

      Mardi Gras on Zazzle

      Designs by naturegirl7

      Some Krewe members need an incentive to throw accurately, hence the target. The men on the floats are particularly fond of this so you can catch more beads when wearing it.

      Mardi Gras Target

      © 2009 Yvonne L. B.

      Leave us a trinket.

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        • profile image

          partyoasis 5 years ago

          We love Mardi Gras and Masks. Nice lense!

        • andreaberrios lm profile image

          andreaberrios lm 5 years ago

          Very informative and fun lens!! Blessed*

        • JoyfulReviewer profile image

          JoyfulReviewer 5 years ago

          Thanks for your tips and photos from the Northshore celebrations. These look a lot tamer and more family-friendly than the wild pictures I've seen on TV.

        • oxfordian profile image

          oxfordian 5 years ago

          Happy Mardi Gras!

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          NC Shepherd 5 years ago

          Love the colors...great lens!

        • Country-Sunshine profile image

          Country Sunshine 5 years ago from Texas

          I love Mardi Gras, and still have all the beads & trinkets from the numerous times I went. This is a great page. Thanks for sharing!

        • MelonyVaughan profile image

          MelonyVaughan 5 years ago

          It would be so much fun to wear a cool costume with hundreds of other people in the street and just have fun! Great lens!

        • Michey LM profile image

          Michey LM 5 years ago

          Great fun no doubt about it! Thanks

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          Kim 5 years ago from Yonkers, NY

          I love the way purple & green look together so for that alone I LOVE Mardi Gras! I have tons of beads & never been there (& most of them I have no idea where they came from!! lol) I did however during the last olympics find a canadian maple leaf type necklace (mardi gras worthy) (that & I've been to Toronto 4x so I love it up there) Great lens I've included it in my Favorite Lenses lens

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          Rebeljohn 5 years ago

          Well I'm going to throw all my Beads to you on this article very well done i enjoyed reading it thank you for posting it

        • lollyj lm profile image

          Laurel Johnson 5 years ago from Washington KS

          What a great lens!! Mardis Gras on the northshore sounds perfect to me.

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          getmoreinfo 5 years ago

          Great lens about the various mardi gras celebrations.

        • sarahrk lm profile image

          sarahrk lm 5 years ago

          I have been to Mardi Gras, it is so great.

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          amanda_knight33 5 years ago

          Nice LENS!!! Gotta love those Dixie Cups!!!! Brings back memories....amanda

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          Fun, fun, fun, I have never done Mardi Gras but wish I had in my youth.

        • Terry Boroff profile image

          Terry Boroff (flipflopnana) 6 years ago from FL

          Loved the photos on this lens. Hereâs a virtual string of Mardi Gras beads for you!

        • javr profile image

          javr 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

          It looks like a lot of fun.

        • ArtByLinda profile image

          Linda Hoxie 6 years ago from Idaho

          âLoved the photos on this lens. Hereâs a virtual string of Mardi Gras beads for you!â

        • raegal75 profile image

          raegal75 6 years ago

          Loved the photos on this lens. Hereâs a virtual string of Mardi Gras beads for you!

        • LakeMom profile image

          LakeMom 6 years ago

          Great photos of your parades! I like the idea of a parade that a family could go to! Here's a string of Mardi Gras beas for you!

        • kimbesa2 profile image

          kimbesa 6 years ago from USA

          Brilliant photos on this lens...Thanks! Hereâs a virtual string of Mardi Gras beads for you!

        • Sami4u LM profile image

          Sami4u LM 6 years ago


          Someone ate the baby. I never made it out of the quarter. As crowed as that was this looks like it would be more fun.

        • naturegirl7s profile image

          Yvonne L. B. 8 years ago from Covington, LA

          [in reply to tandemonimom] Yes he was! He hasn't gone to a Mardi Gras (in the last 8 years) without it!

        • tandemonimom lm profile image

          tandemonimom lm 8 years ago

          Wow, this makes me want to hit a NOLA Mardi Gras celebration SOON. Very inviting, very colorful, very fun lens! (But I want to know, was Al really wearing the "secret weapon" under the knight's costume?)

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          rio1 8 years ago

          Uplifting lens with great photos. Unique & entertaining sounds of Mardi Gras music. I can almost hear a band's drumb beat in the distance and now I want to see a parade.

        • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

          ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

          Welcome to The Totally Awesome Lenses Group.


        • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

          ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

          Its coming around again. Can't make it this year, maybe next year.

          Great lens