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Purple, gold and green country

Celebrate the spirit of New Orleans without leaving town

Grab your feathered masks, your yard-long drinks, your multicolored beads and your festive spirit, and check out these fabulous Mardi Gras celebrations around town—because a parade alone isn’t sufficient for celebrating this Cajun heyday. 

See us rollin’

I’ve never been to a real Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans—in fact, the thought of it makes me want to curl up in a ball and have a panic attack. Too many people. Too many drunk amateurs. Just too much.

But even though I’ve never been to the authentic version, I can say with 100-percent confidence that I much prefer the vibe in Tulsa at the annual Blue Dome Mardi Gras Parade. Every year (this will be the parade’s sixth) the balance seems perfect—it’s just rowdy enough for partiers and just low-key enough for families. It’s a perfect oasis in the mid-winter slog.

And while it’s fun to watch the parade pass by, I can report from personal experience that it’s even more fun to join in.

Gather your friends, your family, your co-workers—really, anyone—and get creative. Maybe you just want to march in a line carrying a banner. Maybe you want to build the most fabulously elaborate float this city has ever seen. Any way you want to do it, it’s only $50 to enter a float in the parade, and if you represent a nonprofit, it’s free. Email mat@mcnellies.com for more information.

After the parade, head to the after-party at Fassler Hall for drink specials and New Orleans-inspired tunes from the jazz cats of Gogo Plumbay.

6th annual Blue Dome District Mardi Gras Parade // 6 p.m. on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 17

1 // Lassalle’s 1st birthday celebration

There’s nothing quite like snacking on a po’boy down on the bayou, but Lassalle’s owners Amanda and Chris West get us pretty damn close. The NOLA-dwellers-turned-Tulsa-transplants have been dishing up po’boys, gumbo and other authentic Cajun fare in T-Town for the past year and will celebrate with a one-year anniversary blowout. Stop by for the famed shrimp po’boy, a bowl of jambalaya or a toasted muffuletta.  A word to the wise: get there early. Those suckers sell out quickly on an average day—expect them to fly off the trays on Fat Tuesday. 

Lassalle’s New Orleans Deli, 601 S. Boston Ave.

2 // All that jazz 

The Crescent City’s most treasured export is the uniquely American art form known as jazz, and Tulsa’s got plenty of places to hunker down with a cocktail and enjoy some tunes. Head to Cellar Dweller (417 W. 7th Street) for “Hot House” Jazz Nights on Wednesdays and Sundays, or stop by Hodges Bend (823 E. 3rd Street) or Juniper (324 E. 3rd Street) for jazz, food and drink on Mondays, and let the hot, sultry sounds transport you to New Orleans, if only for the evening. 

3 // Beignets and Café au Lait at Cajun Ed’s & Hebert’s

If you’re hosting a Mardi Gras celebration at home, be sure to stop by Hebert’s for the very best in Cajun meat offerings—boneless Turduckens and stuffed chickens and turkeys—along with classics like crawfish etouffee, boudin, and andouille. If you’re making your Fat Tuesday celebration a weeklong event, hit up Cajun Ed’s (Hebert’s partner restaurant) the Saturday before for beignets and Café au Lait (aka fried donut goodness and coffee with steamed milk) from 10 a.m.-noon for a tradition as Cajun as they come.

Hebert’s Specialty Meats and Cajun Ed’s Restaurant, 2101 E. 71st Street.

4 // Oysters at S&J

Whether you like your oysters on the half-shell, served Rockefeller style, fried or in shot form, S&J Oyster Co. has you covered. Grab a half-dozen of these raw beauties with some cocktail sauce and Tabasco to start your celebration with a kick. Still hungry? Munch on Big Easy favorites like Mr. Carl’s red beans and rice, classic crab cakes or southern fried hush puppies. Tap into your adventurous side with one of S&J’s famed Oyster Vodka shots. Show up before 6 p.m. for happy hour, when a dozen oysters are just $15.99.

S&J Oyster Co., 308 E. 1st St.

5 // King Cakes

Biting into babies is weird—unless it’s a plastic one inside a King Cake. Fingers crossed you don’t accidentally swallow the prize if it shows up in your slice, but if you do happen to nibble into a little plastic bebe, or find one with your fork, you’re in for a year of good luck. Find the best King Cakes from Merritt’s Bakery (multiple locations, merrittsbakery.com), Ann’s Bakery (7 N. Harvard Ave.) or Wanda’s Cake Gallery (1325 E. 15th Street).  

6 // Palm reading at Sonia’s Psychic Studio

Let Sonia tell you what’s in your future with a classic palm reading. It’s not Jackson Square, but it’s a little bit of that NOLA Voodoo right here in Tulsa. Here’s hoping she sees a stellar Mardi Gras celebration in her crystal.

Sonia’s Psychic Studio, 2760 S. Memorial Drive. 

7 // Shrove Tuesday pancake supper 

Giving up sweets for Lent? Pack ’em in before the big sleep, and stuff your face with all-you-can-eat-pancakes (for FREE) at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Broken Arrow. The name “Shrove Tuesday” stems from the word ‘shrive,’ meaning ‘to confess,’ but rest assured—no one will make you confess the number of ’cakes you ate. Flapjacks will be served from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Donations are accepted, with all proceeds funding summer camp scholarships for local kids. Call 918.294.9444 for more info. 

Saint Patrick’s Episcopal Church, 4250 W. Houston Street, Broken Arrow. 

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