Where to Celebrate Mardi Gras in Washington

No Orleans? No problem. Laissez les bon temps rouler at one of these local celebrations.

By: Travis M. Andrews

It’s carnival season with Mardi Gras just a week away, but you don’t have to be in New Orleans to celebrate. Washington sees its fair share of Fat Tuesday feting, and as the official Louisiana-sponsored Washington Mardi Gras wraps up, the unofficial revelry begins.

Chef David Guas, a New Orleans native, hosts a full-throttle celebration at Alexandria’s Bayou Bakery on Mardi Gras day, February 12. From 5 to 11 PM, 15th Street gets roped off for a Mardi Gras block party featuring free oysters from Rappahannock River Oysters, specialty cocktails by Gina Chersevani of Buffalo & Bergen, a parade float, a costume contest, Bayou Bakery grub, and, of course, Abita beers.

Acadiana, known and praised for its New Orleans-themed fine dining, serves up a special Mardi Gras prix-fixe menu including NOLA classics such as crawfish jambalaya, buffalo frog’s legs with a cheddar cheese grit cake, and rabbit étouffée, to name a few. For dessert there’s a twist on the classic: king cake doughnuts. The dinner is from 5:30 to 10:30 PM on Lundi Gras and Mardi Gras day, February 11 and 12.

For a more elegant take on the famous holiday, the Alliance Française DC and Art Soiree are throwing a black-tie-optional masquerade ball at the Washington Club on February 9. The Blues Style Brass Band provide the entertainment, as does an open bar offering Hurricanes, Sazeracs, and more. Buy tickets ($60) online.

The Black Rock Center for the Arts in Germantown, Maryland, hosts the Crawdaddies, a Louisiana zydeco band, on February 9 for a Mardi Gras concert. Tickets ($23 to $25) can be found here.

The Clarendon Alliance’s Mardi Gras Parade rolls down Wilson Boulevard from North Barton Street to North Irving Street on Mardi Gras day at 8 PM, featuring bands, beads, masks, and more.

Rumors hosts its 12th annual Bourbon Street Bash, which mirrors its namesake: From 4 PM until close on Mardi Gras Day, Coors Light bottles are $2, Blue Moon bottles are $3, Bacardi drinks are $4, and Hurricanes are $5. In addition, there’s a brass band and food specials such as red beans and rice, jambalaya, and gumbo.