Southern Agenda

Carnival Season Kickoff

Mardi Gras falls on February 13, but Carnival season officially begins on January 6, or Twelfth Night. New Orleanians know that the early edge of Carnival is more intimate and family friendly than the raucous final day that closes it out. Seemingly endless neighborhood parades keep the streets hopping—including Joan of Arc (January 6), Chewbacchus (January 20), and Krewe du Vieux (assuredly not family friendly, January 27). January 6 also kicks off king cake season, and Louisiana bakeries engage in a sort of one-upmanship in decadence. In New Orleans, try the delightful Chantilly king cake at Bywater Bakery, or the delicate, traditional French galette des rois at La Boulangerie. “How is the galette des rois different?” asks Maggie Scales, executive pastry chef at that Uptown establishment. “In every possible way. It’s flaky and not overly sweet. It has no color besides the golden shine of baked puff pastry. And it’s well-loved because of the French influence of the city.”