Monday, March 4, 2024

Long Beach Mardi Gras festival—West Coast’s largest free party dedicated to Fat Tuesday—returns to Shoreline Village

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The Long Beach Mardi Gras festival and parade—the West Coast’s largest free party dedicated to Fat Tuesday and an annual tradition that has been kept alive for years—returns to Shoreline Village to bring a sense of NOLA to DTLB come Saturday, Feb. 10.

When it comes to food at the Long Beach Mardi Gras party, you’re gonna wanna check—of course—Louisiana Charlie’s

With a supposed onslaught of incoming inclement weather, we’re praying to the Cajun powers that be that this year’s festival and parade won’t have to be rescheduled like last year’s, where the event was pushed all the way into March.

But should the sun come out, the first thing you’ll wanna do is check out the parade and the food—and by food, I mean specifically the special beignet popup that will be taking place and, of course, a pitstop at Louisiana Charlie’s.

Owners Shanda and Eric Laurent—who’ve not only opened another location in San Diego but also just recently opened a satellite location at Mother’s Beach—are salt of the earth and offer Long Beach some of its finest NOLA-style fare, up there with the Queen of Gumbo herself, Sally Bevans up at Sal’s Gumbo Shack.

Too bad The Social List isn’t doing their Mardi Gras menu from years past as well for those who are unable to attend the festival…

And what about the parade and entertainment for Long Beach Mardi Gras—can I participate?

You can, indeed, participate in the parade, which begins at 2:30PM at Famous Dave’s restaurant (near the southern tail end of Pine Avenue where it hits Shoreline Drive). The second liners in the parade are from the Charles Favors Louisiana Cultural Foundation of California, featuring the Louisiana Culture Street Steppers.

If you choose to march along in the parade, please sign-up by clicking this link and, no, you do not need to register if you are just going to observe.

The Louisiana Zydeco music starts at 1PM, carnival costumes are encouraged to add to
the celebration. Music will be provided by Zydeco Mudbugs, deejays, and a drum-core band from
1-5 p.m. Face-painting and balloon twists are free for children. More fun traditions of New Orleans
will be featured throughout Shoreline Village, including hot, fresh beignets, and of
course a full array of New Orleans Cajun cuisine at Louisiana Charlie’s restaurant.
The parade will begin at

Long Beach Mardi Gras: So who will be reigning royalty?

Councilwoman and disability champion Mary Zendejas will serve as this year’s queen, following a line that includes Mayor Rex Richardson (King of 2023), Senator Lena Gonzalez (Queen of 2020), the much-missed founder of Zombie Walk and all around lover of culture Logan Crow (King of 2014), and yours truly (King of 2017 with former Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce serving as Queen).

“Mardi Gras is about community, inclusion, and togetherness which are all necessary for a city to thrive,” Zendejas said. “It’s fun to celebrate different cultures that have become American, and Mardi Gras is one of those iconic events.”

This is likely the last time you’ll see the Long Beach Mardi Gras party with a Shoreline Village that looks as it does

Shoreline Village’s theme park-like aesthetic–harkening to the quaint fisher and beach towns of the East Coast—will be undergoing a major revamp.

An entire revamping of Downtown Long Beach’s Shoreline Village is being proposed by its owners, Pacific Ocean Management, and will face the initial phase of approval, with developers hoping to garner entitlement at this week’s upcoming Planning Commission meeting in order to move forward the renovation of existing buildings the destruction of three, including two kiosks and one commercial space.

It marks the retail and entertainment complex’s first major aesthetic and structural alteration since its creation in 1982.

This is not the first time the Shoreline Village has had a revamp proposal—nor as ambitious: Studio One Eleven proposed a mid-mod inspired hotel along with a ton of other additions that, when the project was proposed over five years ago, were deemed too grandeur for the seaside space.

Constructed in 1982, Shoreline Village was part of the revamp of Long Beach’s shoreline—including what is now the Shoreline Marina and Marina Green Park—after the City of Long Beach was financially “flat on our backs. Nobody was knocking on our door [to invest in the city],” in the words of then-City Manager James C. Hankla, who headed the early redevelopment effort.

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Despite initial pushback against what some considered a kitschy design, Shoreline Village has become a staple for both locals and tourists—and its newly revamped facade, set to begin later this year, is just one step in its evolution.

But don’t worry: the Long Beach Mardi Gras parade will still happen.

The Long Beach Mardi Gras parade and festival at Shoreline Village takes place on Saturday, Feb. 10 from 1PM to 5PM. For more information, click here.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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