We've sold king cakes. We've eaten (many, many) king cakes. We've made king cakes. We've even won awards with our king cakes. The King Cake Hub story stems from many years of sampling and seeking out New Orleans’ and Southeast Louisiana's best king cakes. We have our King Cake history in another post. But our story also stems from a love of the entire Carnival season and enjoyment of all of the traditions, spirit and fun.
Even without selling king cakes, we do Carnival right. We’re purists- we don’t eat king cake before January 6, but that night we’re out in the crowd at the bus barn watching the Phunny Phorty Phellows board their streetcar. We wave at the Société des Champs-Elysée as they party on the Rampart-St Claude Avenue streetcar and enjoy our first parade of the season at the Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc. King’s Day marks the ramp-up of shoe glittering season (which already has been going on for the past couple of months), but now the dining room is tarped over as work becomes a frenetic pace as the wife prepares for the Krewe of Muses Parade. (We measure the success of Carnival season by how much glitter is on the dog.) Weekends are also spent at the Krewe du Vieux den helping to get the Krewe of Spank float ready for its annual run.
As the Carnival season progresses, days are busy with helping with bead distribution, the annual float viewing, costume designing and the thrill of driving around town and seeing marching bands rehearse their steps and the marching krewes practice their dances. When parades start, we’re out there walking the route, catching up with friends and enjoying the spirit of the city. From the Spanktuary for Krewe du Vieux to Mimi’s for ‘tit RƏx to Kebab for Chewbacchus to Peter’s for King Arthur and Alla and to Abbey’s for Endymion, we have our traditional spots to mark the parading schedule.
Leave town for Mardi Gras? We wouldn’t think of it. Lundi Gras is spent doing final preparations for costumes (and, more often than not, finally figuring out our theme). Kermit Ruffins’ “All on a Mardi Gras Day” is our alarm bright and early on Fat Tuesday as we wake up with the sun to meet other early risers on the streets of Downtown. Although we love the tradition of walking the Uptown route, we prefer starting our morning in Faubourg Marigny, seeing the impromptu dance party on Royal, catching Mardi Gras Indians making their way through the Bywater (see the video embedded below), seeing Skinz N’ Bonez outside of the Backstreet Cultural Museum in Treme, making our way down Royal St to catch up with Pete Fountain’s krewe at the Monteleone, toasting Rex on Canal St as we get ready to picnic with a box of Popeye’s Chicken, dancing with Julu outside of One Eyed Jack’s, sharing king cake with strangers in Jackson Square, walking in the rear of the Societe de Sainte Anne as they march to the Mississippi River (many carrying the ashes of loved ones offering one last parade to those they hold dear), making our way back to the Marigny for dinner and another dance party and finally heading home to crawl into bed in time for Peggy and Errol’s coverage of the Meeting of the Courts (and the hilarious live-tweeting of #RexComus). It’s All On a Mardi Gras Day and we wouldn’t have it any other way.