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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

How to celebrate Mardi Gras in the District

For Mardi Gras, Bayou Bakery offers king cake – a Mardi Gras specialty with brioche-like dough filled with cream and topped with frosting – for $39.95. Sarah Urtz | Photographer

The District is more than a thousand miles from New Orleans, but there are still plenty of opportunities to celebrate Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday in D.C.

Fat Tuesday celebrates the last day of indulgence before the ritual of Lent – a 40-day period of repentance in the Christian faith. Mardi Gras celebrations typically include extravagant costumes, parades and liberal amounts of unhealthy food.

Escape from mid-semester stress by participating in one of the world’s biggest parties while indulging in soul food, strong drinks and jazz music at Mardi Gras events around the District.

Mardi Gras Extravaganza 2019

Start off your Fat Tuesday at the third annual Mardi Gras Extravaganza at The Showroom in downtown D.C.

David Guas, a native of New Orleans and the chef at Bayou, will join several other D.C. chefs from restaurants like Chiko, The Salt Line, District Doughnut and Puddin’ to serve up an all-you-can-eat-and-drink feast.

Lagniappe, a Cincinnati-based band that is known for its New Orleans blues and jazz music, will play throughout the night as attendees compete in a costume contest. If you would rather leave your green, gold and purple at home, attendees can also compete in a bartending competition for the best hurricane – a classic New Orleans sweet, fruity cocktail made with rum, passion fruit syrup and fruit juices, like lemon and orange.

The Showroom, 1099 14th St. NW. 6 to 10 p.m. $55. 21+.

The Crawdaddies at Pearl Street Warehouse

The Crawdaddies, a band named for the New Orleans staple seafood, will play a free concert at Pearl Street Warehouse on Fat Tuesday.

The band will play a mix of rock with Cajun flare and blues that is sure to transport you straight to Bourbon Street. The band members, who mostly hail from the DMV area, have toured at festivals across the country like the Maryland Wine Festival and the Barbecue Festival in North Carolina.

While the event is free, seating is limited and first come, first served so make sure to head to Pearl Street Warehouse early to ensure you’ll be able to get a taste of New Orleans music on Fat Tuesday.

Pearl Street Warehouse, 33 Pearl St. SW. Doors at 7 p.m. Free. 21+.

King Cake at Bayou Bakery

One of the best parts of Mardi Gras is the delicious foods that appear in bakeries, but you don’t need a flight to New Orleans to taste authentic Mardi Gras delicacies.

Bayou Bakery in Arlington, Va. – just a quick Metro ride away – bakes a plethora of New Orleans-inspired treats like king cake, pralines and beignets. For Mardi Gras, the bakery takes orders for king cakes ($39.95) 48 hours in advance. King cake is a Mardi Gras specialty with brioche-like dough filled with cream and topped with frosting – which is colorfully dusted with purple, green and yellow sugar. A tiny plastic baby is hidden inside the cake and whoever finds the baby becomes “king” for the day.

The bakery will also offer a limited supply of king cake slices leading up to Mardi Gras along with colorful purple, gold and green scones and praline boxes ($10) in flavors like chocolate and cafe au lait. For the slices, be sure to call ahead and check Bayou Bakery’s inventory before traveling to Arlington.

Bayou Bakery, 1515 N. Courthouse Road, Arlington, Va.

Due South Mardi Gras 2019

Due South will host its Mardi Gras celebration Tuesday with live music from two bands, beer and an all-you-can-eat buffet of New Orleans classics.

Jazz music from D.C.’s Crush Funk Brass band and Cajun-inspired country music from Zachary Smith and the Dixie Power Trio will set the soundtrack for the night. The buffet will feature special New Orleans-inspired fare like shrimp and chicken jambalaya, Cajun fried chicken and barbecue spare ribs, giving guests a sampling of New Orleans dishes.

If you can’t make it to the restaurant on Fat Tuesday, you can bring the party to your residence hall with catering options like squash hush puppies, fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese dip and gumbo.

Due South, 301 Water St. SE. 4 p.m. $30.

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