Mardi Gras 2018: ‘Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler’ in L.A.

Second line at The LB Bayou Fest 2015 (Photo by Elise Thompson)

Let the good times roll, Los Angeles! Time to purge your sins by getting them out of your proverbial system on Fat Tuesday, or make it just another reason to celebrate the good life while the gettin’s still good. Here’s a list of where to eat and celebrate in Los Angeles for Mardi Gras.

African-American Festival at the Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach
The 16th annual celebration brings Mardi Gras second-line dancers, hip-hop and break dancers, jazz musicians, interactive drum circles, West African dancers, storytellers and more to the Aquarium of the Pacific on Feb. 24 and 25, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Aquarium of the Pacific. The event is free with Aquarium admission, which is $30 adults, $18 ages 3-11 and there is a $10 off coupon at the site.

For more information visit their website.

Amoeba Records – FAT TUESDAY at Amoeba, Hollywood

Amoeba will celebrate their love for New Orleans with their annual FAT TUESDAY Mardi Gras celebration featuring DJs and a parade with masks, beads, and musicians on Tuesday, Feb. 13th at 3:00 p.m. DJ Bennett kicks off the party jams at 3 p.m. and the Mardi Gras Parade is at 4 p.m. “Bring your horn or percussion and join us for our annual party procession to “When The Saints…” and share the cacophonous joy of Fat Tuesday. There will be BEADS and mayhem for the kids and big ones alike.” Amoeba will donate a portion of the day’s proceeds to two charities working to preserve the musical and cultural heritage of New Orleans: Tipitina’s Foundation, a non-profit that “grew out of the New Orleans music venue, Tipitina’s, based in New Orleans, Louisiana,” with a mission is to protect and preserve the musical culture of New Orleans and Louisiana, as well as New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic, which, since 1998, is “dedicated to keeping New Orleans’ performers alive in body, mind, and spirit by providing comprehensive health care and mental health/social services.”

Amoeba Hollywood is located at 6400 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028. For more information call (323) 245-6400.

Big Mama’s Rib Shack and Southern Cooking, Pasadena

The fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy and Mac n’ Cheese at Big Mama’s Rib Shack, Pasadena, California, Aug. 22, 2018. (Photo by Monique A. LeBleu)

 

Big Mama’s Rib Shack and Southern Cooking, Pasadena is the best-kept secret that shouldn’t be one. The Pasadena restaurant has been serving Southern food—Creole and Cajun—for decades, from various incarnations in the Pasadena and Las Vegas areas, using recipes handed down through generations. Darron McWhorter and family make very fine food, serving generous portions of their BBQ ribs, fried chicken, crispy okra, hush puppies, cornbread, seasoned greens, mac ‘n’ cheese, and Big Mama’s own Smothered Chicken or Pork Chops and Rice that will make you wish you had room for more when you are done. Wash it all down with an ice-cold Abita beer and don’t forget the sweet potato or pecan pie! Only for Fat Tuesday, mention Facebook and get 10% off or a free non-alcoholic beverage.

The hours are Tuesday – Thursday and Friday & Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sundays, 12:00 a.m. to 8 p.m., and they are closed Mondays. Reservations for small parties are not necessary, but are for big parties. Call (626) 797-1792 or go to bigmamaspasadena.com for more info. Big Mama’s has their own parking lot and is located at 1453 North Lake Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91104.

Farmer’s Market Mardi Gras, Hollywood

Gumbo Pot po’boy and red beans and rice (Photo by Elise Thompson)

The 29th annual Mardi Gras Celebration at the Original Farmers Market is back, with one more day left of the festival on Feb. 13, 2018. The free family and furry-friend friendly event features New Orleans and Zydeco music on Feb. 13, 2018 from 6 to 9 p.m. in Hollywood at 3rd and Fairfax. “Get your dancing shoes ready” for Eddie Beto’s and the Nervous Brothers on the west patio stage from 6 to 9 p.m., near Du-par’s and the Gumbo Pot. You can expect music, strolling jesters, shakers for joy and peace, beads, and more. There is a Mutti Gras Pet Parade for your four-legged friends, and lots of live music. The Gumbo Pot in the market serves up a variety of Cajun and Creole fare and there is 90-minute free parking validation from most merchants, 2-hours from participating grocers.

The event is free and there is parking at the Farmers Market and at The Grove. Check their website for more about the festive details. For more info call 323-933-9211 or go to farmersmarketla.com/events

Harold & Belle’s 48th Annual Mardi Gras Celebration, Jefferson Park

Harold and Belle’s Catfish po’boy at Simi Valley Cajun & Blues, June 2, 2016. (Photo by Elise Thompson)

Harold & Belle’s 48th Annual Mardi Gras Celebration is on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, from 11:30 a.m. to closing at 11 p.m. The event features live music in the bar starting at 3 p.m. and in the Peacock Lounge at 6 p.m. There will be Rémy Martin and Hurricane drink specials all day long, and their own “H&B To Geaux” Food Truck will be outside serving a limited menu all day. Limited seating is first come-first served.

Harold & Belle’s is located at 2920 West Jefferson Boulevard, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The Little Easy FAT TUESDAY CELEBRATION, Downtown LA

The party is happening all day at The Little Easy in Downtown LA, with a buffet from 11:30am-3pm and an afternoon Happy hour until 4 p.m. with $5 drafts and an Abita beer tap takeover, $8 Hurricanes, and live music starting at 4 p.m., DJ Antiq spins at 10 p.m., and the kitchen open until midnight. And BEADS. Festive attire encouraged.

ALL DAY, starting at noon until 11:00 pm. The Little Easy is at 216 W 5th St, in DTLA.

Long Beach Mardi Gras at Shoreline Village and Rainbow Harbor

The annual Long Beach Mardi Gras at Shoreline Village and Rainbow Harbor returns, Saturday Feb. 17, 2018, with live music, food specials, and more from 12 p.m. To 5 p.m. throughout Shoreline Village. The Mardi Gras Parade is at 2 p.m. at the Grandstand on the grass just north of the Yard House. The Mistress of Ceremonies, Jewels Long Beach, returns for her third year to announce the parade participant lineup. The event is “one of the largest annual free community events in Long Beach,” and all ages are encouraged join in, “dressing up, dancing, and making merry along Long Beach’s beautiful Rainbow Harbor.”

Although the event is free, they would like attendees to R.S.V.P. at www.longbeachmardigras.com.

The Po’ Boy pulled pork at Little Jewel in Chinatown, Los Angeles, Dec. 28, 2014. (Photo by Elise Thompson)

Mardi Gras Masquerade Cruise, Long Beach

Glory chords entertainment and spin cycle present the Mardi Gras Masquerade Cruise that sails Sunday, Feb. 18th, 2018 at 4 p.m. The excursion on board the legendary Grand romance Riverboat features three ship level three stages, live music in two full bars. This sunset cruise sails from Long Beach Marina with a variety of musical acts, including live music from the Who Dat Riverboat All-Stars, featuring Marcus Razak of Digital Tape Factory, Bobby Easton and Nick Chaffee, of Delta Nove, Manny Sanchez, of Groove Session, Ronnie Sanchez, the Sea Funk Brass Band, Shaky Feeling, the Gumbo Brothers, Dusty Green Bones Band, and special guest “Artist-At-Large” Brock Butler of Perpetual Groove.

Boarding begins at 4 p.m. The cruise departs at 5 p.m., and the ship will return to shore at 8 p.m. with the party continuing on until 9 p.m. Tickets for the event are limited to only 250 attendees, 21 and older. Costumes are highly encouraged; patrons are asked to come “dressed to impress in your finest funky attire and feel free to let your freak flag fly.”

Event tickets are $45 and the cruise is located at Grand romance Riverboat, 200 Aquarium Way #4, in Long Beach.

Mayan Bar and Grill, Monrovia

The Mayan Bar and Grill, located in the landmark Aztec Hotel on historic Route 66 in Monrovia, loves to celebrate Mardi Gras annually to fit their year-round Cajun seafood food, and this year’s celebration on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, is no exception. Enjoy tall, delicious, and wallet-saving drinks from super-friendly bartender J.R., who mixes up his Hurricanes for $7.00 (keep the cup) with $5.00 refills. There’s lots of Happy Hour specials during the event, such as $8.00 lbs. of Cajun peel-n-eat Shrimp or Crawfish, and $3.00 bowls of Jambalaya, plus other bar bites. And BEADS, BEADS, BEADS! Definitely the best deal in town! (Ask J.R. about his Tiramisu Martini.)

The Mayan Bar & Grill and The Aztec Hotel are located at 317 W Foothill Blvd Monrovia, California and they are open 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. for Fat Tuesday

Every day is Mardi Gras at Preux and Proper

The DTLA restaurant boasts items like the Crawfish Roll with Louisiana Crawfish, shaved trinity, Pop’s Russian dressing, and lemon, topped on a toasted brioche, and a Fried Shrimp or Fried Oyster Po’Boy (or combo) “fully dressed” with lettuce, tomato, pickles, Pop’s slaw, creole mayo & Cali Fresno Red Hot. Full-on New Orleans nostalgia includes the kind of ready-serve machine frozen daiquiris and Hurricanes that diabetics should avoid, and some French Quarter exterior and balcony charm. Bring a friend to help share the food, and perhaps to mind your chair. It could disappear should you venture too far from it.

Preux and Proper is located at 840 S Spring St, in DTLA and the hours are 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The frozen Hurricane in the ‘Preux’ Bar of Preux and Proper, Downtown Los Angeles, Sept. 12, 2017. (Photo by Monique A. LeBleu)

Union Station Mardi Gras, Downtown LA

L.A.’s gorgeous historic landmark, Union Station, will host the Mudbug Brass Band presented by Metro Art, as they lead a musical procession from the East Portal to the Grand Waiting room for Mardi Gras on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 at 4 p.m.

Thereafter, grab some Creole grub in Chinatown at The Little Jewel of New Orleans (only open until 4 p.m.) on Ord Street. The restaurant and convenience store boasts Beignets, Po’ Boys, Jambalaya, Gumbo, and assorted specials, as well as New Orlean’s own Abita Root Beer to cool down the heat, or chicory coffee to add to the Southern flavor. Buy rare-to-find-in-L.A. spices like Slap Ya Mama or genuine French Market Coffees in the market.

Union Station is at 800 N. Alameda St., and The Little Jewel of New Orleans is at 207 Ord St. For more information on Little Jewel hours call 213-620-0461, or visit littlejewel.la

Here’s more Louisiana and southern-style flavor available in Los Angeles:

A Taste of Louisiana in LA

About Monique A. LeBleu

Monique A. LeBleu is a writer, photographer, videographer, shameless foodie and wineaux. Her love of film history and a background in film production, post production and film theory give her unique insights into her movie reviews, and a brief background in technical theater fuels her passion on all-things theater and film. As a foodie, living in the ever-growing and diverse culinary landscape that is the City of Los Angeles feeds her never-ending pursuit of the perfect comfort food. She lives in the hope that someday she'll find the world's best Mac n' Cheese to pair with a saucy Malbec.
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