“Mardi Gras is the love of life. It is the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods and our joy of living. All at once.”
– Chris Rose, The Times-Picayune, December 2005
Don’t be deceived – not everyone in the MLab office loves Mardi Gras. While some of us have been working for weeks on finding just the right sequin and feather headband to wear to the parades, others prefer to avoid the chaos that goes hand in hand with Carnival season. But even our staff members who have recently moved to NOLA have given in to the all-important rhythm and beauty of this city, and to be honest, that’s what is really at the heart of Mardi Gras: a celebration of life in a quirky, crazy city that is unlike any other place on earth.
You can’t really talk about New Orleans or Mardi Gras without discussing every local’s favorite topic – the food. And even if all of our staff isn’t out on the parade route over the next few days, you can bet that they’re at least enjoying a Carnival favorite, King Cake! Similar to a giant, sugary cinnamon roll, this cake takes its name from the Three Wise Men who brought gifts to baby Jesus. Showing the Catholic roots of New Orleans a bit, most King Cakes actually come with a tiny plastic baby hidden inside, and tradition states that whoever finds the baby must provide the next King Cake.
We can’t really get enough of sweets here in the MLab office, and the styles and flavors of King Cakes are as varied as the neighborhoods of NOLA. Here are a few of our top picks:
McKenzie’s with cream cheese filling
This bakery actually shut down ages ago, but we locals loved their King Cakes so much that another local shop bought the recipe and continues to make these traditional cakes.
Sugar rush, sugar rush, sugar rush. And yes, it’s totally worth it.
For some of our staffers who like the finer things in life, King Cake season translates to “Treat Yo Self” season, and they prefer the French galette de rois. It’s fancypants and awesome. Trust us.
It’s covered in edible glitter. No other explanation is needed.
Carnival season officially ends on Tuesday, Mardi Gras Day, and whether we’ve paraded or abstained, our whole staff has enjoyed a little extra New Orleans love these past few weeks.
Your town may not have Mardi Gras, but what is it that makes your cityunique? What do you love about it? How do you celebrate your home? Whatever it may be, know that God has you there for a specific purpose, and embracing where you’re planted is a big part of sharing His love with your community.