Explore the northshore
St. Tammany Parish Tourist & Convention Commission Spring/Summer 2020
on the cover Braelyn Felps leaps with joy at Fontainebleau State Park. Photography by Kevin Garrett
Fontainebleau State Park is Louisiana’s most visited and a favorite getaway for Louis and Susan Pearson and their grandkids, including Braelyn. See their story on page 36.
Party hard and party often here in the land of festivals, fêtes and all-ages fun.
“Everything surges to life, the flora and especially the fauna.”
Swamp tours, gators, and giraffes … oh, my!
PHOTOS KEVIN GARRETT (3); ERIC LINDBERG
Get your groove on and trip the light fantastic at these St. Tammany hot spots.
Check out a few of the chefs and restaurants we love on the Northshore.
Shop St. Tammany for old and new treasures to take home.
“Camping makes memories that will last a lifetime.”
Small museums and historic sites give perspective on the area’s past.
Flyboarding, paddling, tubing and camping experiences await the adventurous. LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM | 1
from the editor
Times to Remember
o, true confessions here: It’s been a long time since I’ve been a party girl. Sure, I may have danced on top of a certain bar on Bourbon Street, but that was ages ago. I had to call in a professional to write the article on Northshore nightlife (page 11, thank you Beth). Lucky for me, St. Tammany shows you the type of good time that you don’t have to try to forget. There’s always a new festival exploding on the scene with fanfare. This year will be the second annual Bluesberry Festival in Bogue Falaya Park. I’ve got to tell you, the Bluesberry Festival (page 7) shot straight up to the top of my list of favorite festivals right out of the gate. A show-stopping musical lineup, Abita Blueberry Wheat Beer, fresh blueberries from the Farmers Markets, unique artisans and an emphasis on art and childrens’ activities, all against the verdant backdrop of Bogue Falaya Park. It was, well, bluetiful. Last April, I put on my party dress and showed up with a smile, first at the Hospice Foundation of the South’s All-YouCan-Eat Crawfish Cook-Off in Slidell and then at Girod Street Stroll, both on the same glorious Saturday (page 6). In Slidell, the folks were friendly and crawfish were spicy and hot, just like the afternoon in Fritchie Park. As the sun set over Lake Pontchartrain and the cerulean sky turned the same shade of pink as the azaleas, the weather turned decidedly pleasant, just in time for a leisurely stroll down Old Mandeville’s historic and leafy Girod Street. The Old Mandeville Business Association turned out in spades, welcoming revelers with mint juleps and a warm greeting, as did the lovely people of Mandeville. It was a magical evening, the kind you don’t want to end and one I won’t soon forget.
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Christina Cooper CONTRIBUTORS
What is that old saying, the people make the party? It’s the sense of community that makes St. Tammany stand out; hospitality permeates every festival, fête and get-together. Whether you’re dancing on the lawn at a Mandeville Live! concert, grooving in the intimate, bohemian setting of the Lobby Lounge, or strolling the streets in your white linen, you’ll be greeted with a warm welcome and a sense of familiarity. We love reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. The Northshore is made up of convivial, companionable locals who can’t wait to show you a great time. There are people like Christine Clouatre from The Shack restaurant, who will make sure you and your family feel warm and fuzzy from the inside out (page 21). Or Shannon Bordelon from Bayou Adventure (page 34), whose company motto has become, “Yeah, we do that!” in response to out-oftowners asking for special ways to experience Louisiana life. (It’s even printed on the back of Bayou Adventure t-shirts.) Or Larry Smith, from H.J. Smith & Sons General Store, whose family has owned the local catchall since 1876 and who’s happy to share with you Covington’s rich history (page 39). Then there’s Jeff Rogers from Cajun Encounters, who has built an outpost with a boardwalk and pavilion at the Honey Island Swamp that is made to welcome visitors from all over the world (page 27). You don’t need a formal invitation, but here it is: Come join the party! We can’t wait to meet you. Christina Cooper
editor - in - chief
Jyl Benson, Beth D'Addono, Kevin Garrett, Roberta Carrow-Jackson, Renée Kientz, Anna Strider
LouisianaNorthshore.com PRESIDENT AND CEO
St. Tammany Parish Tourist & Convention Commission 68099 Highway 59 Mandeville, LA 70471 (985) 892-0520 www.LouisianaNorthshore.com
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Explore the Northshore is a biannual publication of the St. Tammany Parish Tourist & Convention Commission. The STPTCC provides visitor information and assistance to leisure and business travelers in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. Find comprehensive listings for accommodations, attractions, dining and events at the STPTCC’s official website: www.LouisianaNorthshore.com
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Cypress trees and knees grace the shoreline at Fontainebleau State Park beach.
PHOTO KEVIN GARRETT
join the party Thereâ€™s always something fun afoot on the Northshore. We celebrate crustaceans and bird migrations, antiques and art, and just about anything else that brings joy our way.
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Donâ€™t miss the Girod Street Stroll in Mandeville April 25.
PHOTOS KIM BERGERON; BOBBY GILBOY; KEVIN GARRETT; GEORGE LONG (2); DAVID GALLENT; BILL LANG
The Northshore planner
to find out more
august 8, 15
Covington Antiques and Uniques Festival
Vintage collectibles & live appraisals
Columbia Street Block Party Music, vintage cars and more
Celebrations of art and culture
Louisiana Bicycle Fest Art bikes in Abita Springs
St. Tammany Crab Festival
En Plein Air in Abita Springs Louisiana landscapes on display
Louisiana Veterans Festival
Slidellâ€™s patriotic tribute with live music june 20
White Linen Nights in Slidell (8), Covington (15)
Tammany Taste of Summer
Delicious deals, special prix fixe menus
Crabs, classic cars, and music october 1-4
St. Tammany Parish Fair
Rides, critters and carnival food
spring into fun in st. tammany parish Spring heralds a good time in St. Tammany Parish, filled with joie de vivre and plenty of events that revel in our culture, music and cuisine. From one end of the parish to the other, thereâ€™s always something to do. Many fests are free, too.
LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM | 5
Great Louisiana BirdFest eight species of woodpecker call
Girod Street Stroll Sip and stroll your way down picturesque main street in Old Mandeville
aunter down Old Mandeville’s Girod Street and enjoy mint juleps and other specialty drinks from shopkeepers and tasting plates from local chefs. Live music, art demos and craft booths make for an elegant evening near the Mandeville lakefront. The magical stroll starts as the sun begins to set over Lake Pontchartrain,
and local shops offer extended hours into the evening. Buy a souvenir cup in advance or at the gate (if still available) and try each signature drink offered by the Old Mandeville Business Association as you mix and mingle your way down the historic, tree-lined street. April 25, 5-9 p.m.
the Northshore home, including the elusive red-cockaded, but those are just a few of the many birds would-be watchers look for during the Great Louisiana BirdFest. St. Tammany Parish is considered a flyway and seasonal visitors such as the scarlet tanager, indigo bunting, ruby-throated hummingbird and numerous waterfowl drop in on residents like the great blue heron, great egrets, white ibis, raptors and others each spring. Northlake Nature Center, a 400-acre nature preserve in Mandeville, hosts the BirdFest, which is April 3-6 this year. Register in advance for excursions and workshops.
Playing the Blues Don't miss the return of the St. Tammany Bluesberry Festival
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PHOTOS KEVIN GARRETT; BILL LANG
he hottest new fest in St. Tammany cools off with some blues — berries, that is. With the lush, towering cypress trees in Bogue Falaya Park as a stunning backdrop and blues music with a little jazz and rock thrown in (featuring legends like Cedric Burnside), the allday ode to the Northshore’s plump, sweet berries also features the Abita Beer Garden, a stellar collection of artisan booths, live art demos, a food truck alley and children’s activity village. Tickets are sold in advance and at the gate. The fest runs 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on May 30 in Covington along the banks of the Bogue Falaya River.
DON'T MISS olde towne slidell antique spring street fair
March 28 and 29, search for treasures and comb through collectibles at this free annual event. Arts and crafts and music, too. a taste of covington
For one day in March, New Orleans street performers play this roots music festival
he Abita Springs Busker Festival is a free festival celebrating Louisiana roots music sponsored by the Abita Springs Opry and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. There’s plenty of dancing at the plaza when some of the New Orleans area’s best street performers (aka
buskers) come play on a real stage in Abita Springs Trailhead Park. The 2020 Busker Festival will be held from 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. on March 22. The event is held concurrent with the Abita Springs Art and Farmers Market, with food and craft vendors in the park as well.
bayou jam concerts
Bring your picnic blankets, coolers, and lawn chairs for this annual free spring concert series on Sundays at Heritage Park in Slidell. Box Office Giants kicks off the opening on April 5. kokomo stroll
Break out the flip flops and Hawaiian shirts for this summer celebration in the streets of downtown Covington. Live music. Free admission. With purchase of a Kokomo Stroll cup receive “boat drinks” at stops along Columbia Street. June 27, 4-7 p.m.
Slidell's Crawfish Cook-Off
Bring lawn chairs and dancing shoes to this free concert series held at Mandeville’s Trailhead Amphitheater on Fridays in April.
on april 18, during peak crawfish
PHOTOS GEORGE LONG; KEVIN GARRETT
season, The Hospice Foundation of the South hosts the 17th Annual Crawfish Cook-off in Slidell. This just may be the year organizers enter to win the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest crawfish boil (45,000 pounds!) in a single day. The celebration of crustaceans features 60 teams competing for honors and “Best Crawfish in St. Tammany Parish.” They boil more than 22 tons of the little lobster lookalikes, all spicy and delicious, and each
Vintner dinners, culinary events at participating restaurants and venues in April. This Bacchanalian celebration is extending all month for the first time this year.
lobby lounge concerts in slidell
pot is flavored with a special mix of ingredients or secret recipe. Best part is, the price of admission gets you as many crawfish as you can eat, lots of live music, and a fun day under the Louisiana sun. Check out our video at LouisianaNorthshore.com/crawfishcookoff
Check out the cool, intimate Bohemian-style performances at the Lobby Lounge at the Harbor Center. Upcoming acts: The Black Feathers: April 23, Randy Jackson of Zebra: May 19, Katie Boeck: June 23, Abigail Flowers: July 23, Amanda Shaw: August 20, and Danika & The Jeb: September 17.
LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM | 7
The Madisonville fireworks, parade and watermelon eating competition are a few of the many festivities in St. Tammany celebrating Independence Day
As American as Apple Pie
hat better way to celebrate America’s birthday than with neighbors and friends in a small-town fête? Old fashioned patriotic fun abounds on the Northshore, with every community putting its own spin on patriotic pride. Picnicking and all-day activities for the kiddos mark the Light Up the Lake Independence Day Celebration in Mandeville (visit louisiananorthshore.com for 2020 date and times). In the evening, the party heats up with a tribute to servicemen and women and live music — dancing is encouraged. Fireworks over Lake Pontchartrain is the showstopper. Close to 4,000 neighbors are expected for Sparks in the Park, Covington’s Fourth of July Celebration in Bogue Falaya Park. Expect tons of family fun, from hot dog and watermelon eating contests to face painting and a patriotic concert. A first-class fireworks show caps off the perfect evening. Who doesn’t love a parade? Madisonville’s celebration kicks off with an 11 a.m. lineup of classic cars, rousing music and community leaders, all festooned in red, white and blue. Get the best views on Main 8 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM
in front of the ballfield or catch the action along St. Louis or Pine streets. The daylong party includes a beauty pageant for kids ages 4 to 9 year olds, games, watermelon eating contest, a horseshoe tourney and boffo fireworks show after dark on the river. In Slidell, the 23rd annual Heritage Festival at Heritage Park is also a fundraiser produced by the Rotary Club of Slidell, with more than $700,000 raised for local charities to date. Feel good about that $10 admission ($5 for kids 4-12, free for tots 3 and under), a bargain for the fun planned from 4 to 11 p.m. Live music — last year’s headliner was Amanda Shaw — family activities and an impressive fireworks display to cap the evening. Head to the Abita Springs Trailhead and Park to celebrate the 4th from 5 to 10 p.m. A festive bike and wagon parade launches the family fun day, with live music and plenty of good eats -and Abita beer — to keep the party going. Fireworks light up the sky at 9 p.m. In Pearl River, the Town Hall is where it all happens. A Fourth of July day of oldtimey family fun includes three-legged races, hula hoop and pie eating contests and an awesome fireworks show at dusk.
PHOTOS ANTHONY “CHOPPER” LEONE (2); JOANIE JOHNSTON
Here are the best festivals to celebrate the Fourth of July on the Northshore by beth d’addono
Canceled Edition: The Art of Birding, An Installation by Pippin Frisbie-Calder presented by the St. Tammany Art Association
Spring for Art
Historic Downtown Covington Saturday, April 11, 6-9 PM
by roberta carrow-jackson each
PHOTOS BOBBY TALLEY (2)
shops and restaurants in downtown Covington’s historic St. John District celebrate the visual, performing and culinary arts that make the town an art lover’s destination. It’s the Spring for Art free festival, when Columbia Street becomes pedestrian-only for an evening of contemporary fine art exhibitions, live music on the street, art demos and hands-on activities, dance and aerialist performances, a bartenders’ cocktail competition (free samples!) and sales events at the many antique, fashion and home décor shops in the district. Covington’s internationally known dining scene and always-hopping and after-hours clubs and bars make the night complete. sttammany.art
Covington’s WorldCommunity Renowned Exhibits Creative From the vaults of the St. Tammany Art Association is at the heart of art on the Northshore long
haven, Covington is home to a number of fine galleries and the St. Tammany Art Association is the proprietary nonprofit organization whose mission it is to showcase emerging and established artists. The STAA’s lovely 19th-century-old building in the historic St. John District features two exhibit spaces, one for visiting exhibits by regional and national artists and the other for members’ works. In the alley between the STAA Building and HJ Smith and Sons Hardware, you’ll find Art Alley, a fun non-traditional exhibit and event space frequently used during Fall and Spring for Art, Columbia Street Block parties and more. 320 n. columbia st., covington
New Orleans Museum of Art to the city of Slidell by roberta carrow-jackson
each spring for the last decade,
the New Orleans Museum of Art has partnered with the City of Slidell to bring works from its permanent collection of some 40,000 objects to the Cultural Center at City Hall. With an emphasis on French, American, African and Japanese art, past exhibitions have featured compelling selections of works by iconic 20th Century Louisiana artists such as George Rodrique and Ida Kohlmeyer, and by celebrity artists like Warhol, Picasso, Matisse and Miro. NOMA brings another themed selection to Slidell April 1-May 1, with a sneak peek of the exhibit during Slidell’s Arts Evening on March 21. 2055 second st., slidell, myslidell.com
LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM | 9
Cajun Dance Lessons
you don’t have to be cajun to “pass a
abita springs opry March 21 April 18 May 16
good time” on the dance floor when the Northshore Cajun Dancers convene at Abita Springs’ Town Hall. Everyone’s welcome to join in. Don’t know how to Cajun dance but want to learn? Free lessons are given from 7-7:30 p.m. Live music from the likes of Bruce Daigrepont, Choupique and Lee Benoit commences at 8 ($12 cover charge). It’s a classically Cajun evening of joie de vivre, food and drink, with all ages and skill levels two-stepping across the floor. Be sure to check out the LouisianaNorthshore.com events calendar for dates.
bayou jam April 5 B ox O ffice G iants April 19 Cuisine sunset at the landing March 20 April 17 May 15 June 19 July 17 August 21 September 18 October 16 dew drop jazz & social hall March 14, 28 April 11, 25 May 9, 23
Music beats at the heart of the Northshore
rom free outdoor community concerts at Heritage Park in Slidell or the trailhead amphitheaters in Mandeville and Covington to the spring and autumn concert series at the Dew Drop, Abita Opry and Pontchartrain Vineyards, the musical offerings of the Northshore resonate beautifully in our ears. There are numerous free concert series around St. Tammany, with music acts and entertainment for the whole family. Bayou Jam at Heritage Park in Slidell kicks off April 5 with Box Office Giants and returns April 19 with Cuisine. Columbia Street Landing is the spot to be for the Sunset at the Landing concerts, held the third Friday of every month from March to October. Bring your lawn chairs, refreshments and enjoy the sense of community and riverside setting. Also look for the new Sunset at the Park concert series in Madisonville, returning for its second year this spring. Rockin’ the Rails concerts at the Covington Trailhead are scheduled every Thursday in April. Jazz has been wafting through the ancient oaks outside the Dew Drop Jazz Hall in Mandeville since 1895. A quintessentially Southern experience, concert-goers line up outside the old wooden structure well before show-time. Twinkling lights strung from moss-laden branches and across the stage gaily welcome them to the oldest unaltered rural jazz hall in the world. Purchase a glass of 10 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM
wine or Abita Beer from the table out front, or a dinner plate from one of the church ladies at First Free Mission Baptist next door. Come enjoy the concert series as the Dew Drop celebrates its 125th Anniversary. The popular Jazz’n the Vines concert series at Pontchartrain Vineyards in Bush also features Louisiana music, including jazz, Cajun, zydeco and rhythm & blues. Rousing bands play to families sprawled on blankets and in lawn chairs, all against the lush backdrop of the vineyard. Guests bring picnic dinners or purchase from local food trucks and sip the vineyard’s award-winning wine. The Harbor Center in Slidell sets the scene for a Bohemian-style, smoke-free intimate night of music with their “Up Close and Musical” concert series featuring nationally touring acts at The Lobby Lounge. Visitors to the Abita Springs Opry feel as if they’ve stepped back in time when they step into the 100 year-old Town Hall with pecky cypress walls and a wooden floor. Dedicated to the preservation of Louisiana “roots” music, multi-performer shows feature acoustic country, bluegrass and traditional southern gospel, even Cajun or zydeco. There’s more than music in the air on the Northshore. There’s magic.
PHOTO BOBBY GILBOY
the lobby lounge March 12 Wildeyes April 23 The B lack Feathers May 19 R andy Jackson of Zebra June 23 K atie B oeck July 23 Abigail Flowers August 20 Amanda S haw September 17 Danika & The J eb
FIVE SPOTS ... to have a drink
st. ann wine bar
When the sun goes down, St. Tammany does things differently by beth d’addono
PHOTO KEVIN GARRETT
ll nightlife doesn’t have to be non-stop crazy, 24/7. Especially because there’s that party city across the lake for that. Here in St. Tammany Parish, where things are nice and easy, nightlife has plenty of get down, but the groove is more personal. Want live music? Sure thing. Local beer? Yep, we make it right here. Craft cocktails? Smart wine service? Hip-shaking dancing? Check, check and check. Covington’s walkable downtown is perfect for night grooves. The action happens late night every Friday and Saturday at Columbia Street Rock n’ Blues, a club that spotlights house and guest DJs to get things going on the expansive dance floor. Move to the beat inside or head out to the newly renovated covered patio for a quieter spot to sip cocktails and chat. Ladies get in free on Fridays until midnight, so plan ahead. If you work up an appetite, the kitchen feeds until late. At the uber-chill Columbia Street Tap Room, burgers, brews and bands rock the house with a lively crowd of regulars keeping it real during trivia night, Saints games and live music on the weekends. Next door at the Seiler Bar, a menu of fine wine and elevated comfort food sets the stage for a romantic date night or girls night out. Speaking of wine, Barrel Wine Bar in Covington invites oenophiles to sip and sample, with more than 20 wines from around the world available by the glass. Pop-up treats (most Wednesdays, get three pieces of fried chicken and a bottle of wine or bubbles for $30, oh yeah!), happy hour specials, live music and vintner dinners make Barrel Wine Bar a popular spot. Feel like shaking those tail feathers? Head to Ruby’s Roadhouse in Mandeville, a local’s hangout known for cold beer and red hot dance, from the likes of 80s tribute band Supercharger to Big Daddy O playing
St. Ann offers 40 wines by the glass, small plates and a wine room as well as outdoor seating.
22 st. ann drive #2, mandeville cypress bar
This swanky bar in the down and dirty blues. Or Southern Hotel has relax with a brew-fueled complimentary whiskey evening at The Barley tastings monthly and a large Oak, an old world draught local following. house with more than 100 428 e. boston st., covington beers and stellar sunset maple room views of the lake. Come The Maple Room is a fun, hungry because a fetching laid-back bar offering menu of German treats flavorful food and delectable (sausages, soft pretzels, mixed drinks. 2219 carey st., slidell wursts) along with Dagwood-sized sandwiches speckled t’s after dark await. This popular seafood Open until 2 a.m. evrestaurant by day offers ery day, the Brass Mon“dinner & dancing” with live music by night. key in Olde Towne Slidell 158 s. military road, slidell pours a super selection of regional Louisiana beer, rosie’s tavern with at least 36 on tap and This cozy pub in Abita has 70 specialty craft brews cypress knees on the ceiling and three dart boards, two in bottles and cans. This pool tables, and a jukebox. is absolutely the kind of 22067 la-59, abita springs neighborhood watering hole everybody wants to have on their corner — think Cheers with better beer. Sports fans adore Electric Avenue Bar & Arcade because the beer is cold, sporting events are always on and video and arcade games new-and-old-school are in the house. An extended happy hour from 2 – 6 p.m. makes Electric Avenue the perfect first stop of the evening. LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM | 11
The cast of 30 by Ninety Theatre in the Southern classic “Steel Magnolias.”
UPCOMING PERFORMANCES playmakers, inc.
19106 playmakers road, covington, (985) 893-1671
All the World's a Stage
A collection of community theaters unite and delight residents and guests on the Northshore by jyl benson
ccording to the American Association of Community Theatre, community theaters involve more participants, present more performances of more productions, and play to more observers than any other performing art. The communities that make up the Northshore are rich in small theaters that delight and engage. Tucked away like a thrilling secret in the heart of the San Souci forest in Covington, Playmakers, Inc. was organized in 1955 by a group of volunteer amateur theater devotees. The nonprofit's mission: to offer an equal opportunity for anyone interested in participating in or observing live theater. From its inception, Playmakers has produced four or more plays each year. In early 2018, Playmakers took its show on the road with the introduction of Readers Theater. With a mission to bring live theatre to the community in places it may not have reached before, Readers Theater performs one-act plays, staged readings and other theatrical forms of entertainment in a variety of venues. Located in Mandeville, 30 by Ninety Theatre was founded in 2014 by Tom Bubrig, Adolfo Rodriguez and Jason Leader when they were serving on the board of another theater and observed a need for a community theater in Mandeville. Now located in two adjacent buildings, the group 12 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM
stages plays and musicals that are geared toward adults, but appropriate for all ages. In addition to one kid-centric play each holiday season, the theater holds children's summer camps and studio classes for youths ages 7 to 17. Slidell Little Theatre was founded in 1963 by volunteers, all of whom are Northshore residents. Slidell Little Theatre offers a six show main-stage season, two Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) performances, hosts several fundraising events and devotes an entire summer to educating school age children through its Young Actors Theatre of Slidell (YATS) program. Located in quaint, atmospheric Olde Towne Slidell's historic Grande Manor (153 Robert St., Slidell), Café Luke Dinner Theatre is operated by Rickie and Ginger Luke. New performances are presented about every six weeks. Café Luke serves Louisiana-French Creole country cooking to be enjoyed along with theatrical productions. (985) 707-1597 Cutting Edge Theater is located in the 6,000 square foot Attractions Salon, serving as a full-service salon by day and an innovative and intimate community theater with seating for 112 at night. Founder Brian Fontenot was inspired after winning an award for his first show in 2006.
playmakersinc.com May 1-17, 2020 "G ood People," drama , by David L indsay-A baire July 10- 27, 2020 "A Chorus Line," musical, by James K irkwood J r . and N icholas Dante
30 by ninety theatre 880 lafayette st., mandeville, (844) 843-3090 30byninety.com April 18-May 3, 2020 "M oby D ick Rehearsed," drama , by O rson Wells (adapted from H erman M elville) July 18 - August 2, 2020 “Clue,” musical, by P eter de P ietro August 29 - September 13, 2020 “Twelve Angry M en ,” drama , by R eginald Rose October 10 - 25, 2020 “Annie,” musical, by Thomas M eehan , slidell little theatre
2024 nellie drive, slidell, (985) 643-0556
slidellittletheatre.org Mar 6, 2020 - Mar 22, 2020 "The M iss Firecracker Contest," drama , by B eth H enley Apr 24 - May 10, 2020 "D reamgirls ," musical /romantic comedy, by B ill C ondon cutting edge theater
767 robert blvd., slidell, (985) 649-3727 cuttingedgetheater.com March 20-28, 2020 "D ivas Live," musical, by M ichael S imon April 30-25, 2020 "Sweet Potato Q ueens ," musical, by J ill C onner B rowne May 1-16, 2020 "Doo Wop to M otown ," musical, by J ill C onner B rowne
indulge PHOTO STEPHEN DEVRIES
Crispy mangrove snapper from Chef Jeffrey Hansell at Oxlot 9
take a bite Life's a feast on the Northshore, where the culinary perspective has been shaped by the area's diverse cultures as well as the bounty of the bayou. Whether you choose poboys from mom-and-pop or Gulf-inspired fare from talented chefs, there's a great meal waiting for you. LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM | 13
Chef Jeff Mattia’s new restaurant brings the heat
Experience a taste of jolly old England in a corner of Covington by kevin garrett
shared love of tea and its English culture launched Jan and Tim Lantrip into a new venture in 2002: The English Tea Room. The fiveroom cottage sits on a shady corner lot in Covington with a Union Jack flying out front and marked by a cheery red London phone booth. “I’m registered as a pharmacist, and sparked by my husband’s British heritage, I became passionate about the health benefits of teas,” Jan says. Steeped in British culture, the bustling restaurant is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. The couple, who moved from New Orleans to pursue their dream, also handles special events along with monthly themed dinners like Downton Abbey, James Bond and Mary Poppins. The walls of each room – the Tudor Room, the Sanctuary, the Churchill Room, the Hunt Room and the Queen’s Parlor – are all covered with British memorabilia from portraits of queens to a Beatles poster to collectible teapots. Guests can choose from more than 100 selections of 14 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM
teas including favorites like Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary, Windsor Castle, as well as Darjeeling, which is called the “Champagne of Teas.” The height of tea services is the Prince William High Tea, featuring a cup of the soup of the day, six finger sandwiches, chocolate dipped strawberries, fresh scones with house-made clotted cream, a dessert selection, a cheese and fruit plate and, of course, a pot of tea. “We only use loose leaf, because that’s a higher grade of tea leaves with more antioxidants,” Jan says. Tea figures prominently even in their recipes; tea is used in soups and in the marinade for the roasted meats. Breakfast pays homage to Tim’s British roots with items like bangers and mash, the Buckingham bake, and crumpets and scones with lemon curd. The highlight of lunch is the coronation chicken salad made with chai-infused chicken with curry sauce, an original recipe from Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953. 734 east rutland st., covington
intense pride when he describes his new restaurant in Covington and the James Beard quote that inspired its menu: “Grilling, broiling, barbecuing–whatever you want to call it–is an art, not just a matter of building a pyre and throwing on a piece of meat as a sacrifice to the gods of the stomach.” Pyre Provisions utilizes the earliest cooking methods–fire and wood– to execute spot-on dishes and hospitality in a casual environment. “We’re fusing a classic steakhouse presentation of meat and heavy, family-style sides with the casual, family-friendly bones-and often flavors-of a BBQ restaurant,” Mattia says. Plates are served in shareable portions, making for memorable, family-style meals, something key to Mattia’s concept. Southern-inspired fare with global influences makes the menu pop at Pyre Provisions. To start, share the smoked pork belly with sweet corn succotash, smoked duck hummus, or crispy brussels sprouts. Among the hearty sides to sample: artisanal cheese grits, stuffed rosti (with lamb), and hasselback potatoes. Weekday plate lunch specials include fried chicken, red beans and rice, smoked pork loin and shrimp and andouille sausage gravy over pasta. For lighter fare, the Parilla beet salad is sublime, with coal cooked beets, whipped feta cheese, pistachio brittle and arugula. Dinner winners include beef brisket with a classic Texas rub (also available in a lunch poboy), pork chop with boudin fried rice and of course, the filet or ribeye. Open for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. 70437 la-21 #100, covington
PHOTO KEVIN GARRETT
veteran chef jeff mattia exudes an
Chef Leonardo Giarraputo
We All Scream
for Hoodoo Ice Cream by beth d'addono
every morning jamie mauthe and her
PHOTOS KEVIN GARRETT (2)
daughters, Sarah and Katie, milk 14 Jersey and Holstein cows in Progress, Mississippi. That milk is what powers the flavors of Hoodoo Ice Cream, Billy Sussky and George Schenck’s handmade and thoughtfully sourced dairy parlor in downtown Covington. While you can get vanilla in a homemade waffle cone, why would you, when you can slurp ice cream made with Creole cream cheese, a regional tart farmer cheese that was first served on New Orleans’ tables in the 1800s. Then there are fruit flavors, local berries, satsuma and blood orange. Or how about scoops that channel a complex flavor profile, like the peach bourbon habanero, made with Rockin’ Robin’s Pepper Jelly out of Slidell, a sweet-spicy, little salty party in your mouth that’s positively addicting. Fans of bananas foster will find Hoodoo’s version on a cone downright perfect; a caramel, cinnamon banana concoction that is spot on. The only thing missing is the fire.
405 n columbia st., covington
That's Sicilian at Leonardo's
Come experience a taste of the old country in the heart of Mandeville by beth d'addono
icilians immigrated to New Orleans in droves in the late 1800s and they brought their culinary heritage with them. It’s safe to say that most of them didn’t come to Louisiana for love. Chef Leonardo Giarraputo, a more recent immigrant, has another story. Giarraputo, whose bustling Leonardo’s Trattoria & Pizzeria in Mandeville attracts regulars out the door for lunch and dinner, immigrated from Sicily’s Santa Margherita di Belice, southwest of Palermo, to the Orlando area to cook at his uncle’s restaurant. The chef moved to Mandeville from Florida in 2016 because his wife, Rachel, was born on the Northshore. In 2017, he opened his restaurant, which is not the typical Creole Italian cuisine
mash up, so don’t expect to find seafood smothered with cheese. Instead, fresh pasta is sauced, Italian style, with each dish prepared just the way it's done in Italy. The chef, who honed his skills as a star chef at Disney’s Animal Kingdom resort, creates a menu fit for a beloved paisano, from fresh basil coaxed into Parmesan-spiked pesto to a lofty lasagne that is a family recipe, a family that is still in the business of hospitality running two restaurants and a bar in Sicily. From imported prosciutto to castelvetrano and kalamata olives and salamino pizza topped with spicy calabrese salami, chef Giarraputo keeps it real. 2625 florida st., mandeville
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The Northshore’s diverse and deep restaurant scene feeds your hunger for authentic culinary experiences
544 girod st., mandeville
Chef Luke Hidalgo takes an upscale approach to Gulf South comfort foods, taking them to new heights. Think fried boudin with crab boil mozzarella, decadent charbroiled oysters and a rockin’ gumbo, all prepared in a cute-as-can-be cottage. rieger’s on the trace
2020 woodrow st., mandeville
del porto ristorante 501 e. boston, covington
Chef Jeffrey Hansell’s lovely dining space in downtown Covington’s Southern Hotel is a great showcase for the Gulf-inspired contemporary Southern food. Try the sumptuous fried frog legs in hot sauce butter or the venison meat pies. Another fan favorite is the heritage pork chops. Hansell’s creativity and his deft touch with seafood and with meat make his ever-changing menu a culinary adventure.
Included in New Orleans food critics’ lists of top 10 restaurants in the New Orleans area, Del Porto is a local favorite for its emphasis on locally sourced ingredients and contemporary Italian fare. Husband-andwife chef team David and Torre Solazzo are three-time semifinalists for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: South award. One bite of their stellar crudo or one spoon of risotto and you’ll know why.
428 w. boston, covington
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PHOTO KEVIN GARRETT (2); DAVID GALLENT; ZACH SMITH PHOTOGRAPHY
This cheerful new eatery across from the Mandeville Trailhead is getting a lot of buzz for its surprising menu with items like grilled turnip cakes with andouille and shrimp, buffalo chicken dip, fried pork chop sandwiches and “bahn mi-style” po-boys. Kid-and-pup friendly, indoor and outdoor seating.
3154 pontchartrain drive, slidell
Lively, bright and busy, this Slidell staple serves up soulful Louisiana comfort food in the form of New Orleans’ style muffalettas, fried seafood platters, burgers and steak specials. Try Dan’s Favorite (named after owner Dan LeBlanc): two fried eggs, applewood smoked bacon and melted American cheese with lettuce and tomato on toasted French bread.
palmettos on the bayou 1901 bayou lane, slidell
The name describes the place, a large Acadian cabin on the banks of historic Bayou Bonfouca, lush with palmettos and iconic Louisiana greenery enjoyed from the decks. Enjoy gumbo, shrimp and grits, crawfish beignets, trout amandine, balsamic duck, and on Sundays, a live jazz brunch. crabby shack
305 la-21, madisonville
locations in covington, mandeville and slidell
Longtime local favorite chef Pat Gallagher knows his way around a steak. You may never have a better filet served in sizzling butter. Expect divine crab cakes and the perfect preparation of Louisiana seafood like pompano and redfish, as well as Colorado rack of lamb and chargrilled quail.
2025 lakeshore drive, mandeville
With its lived-in ambience, The Crabby Shack is a typical South Louisiana neighborhood spot. There’s dark-roux gumbo, steaming platters of boiled crabs and crawfish in season, fried seafood platters and poboys. Join the locals for some serious seafood.
Spectacular sunsets over Lake Pontchartrain are on the menu at Cayman Sinclair’s restaurant in the historic Bechac building in Mandeville, as are the melt-in-your-mouth pan seared scallops with bourbon brown butter. Fresh Louisiana seafood plucked from nearby waters is impeccably presented in the form of Gulf fish amandine, fried soft-shelled crab, or a bouillabaisse (traditional French fish stew).
liz’s where y’at diner 2500 florida st., mandeville
PHOTOS KEVIN GARRETT (2); DAVID GALLENT (2); ERIC LINDBERG
Lovely Liz Munson and her sunny servers are as welcoming as her fluffy pancakes, ohso-creamy grits, and perfectly executed eggs benedict. The St. Charles Scrambler with lump crabmeat, green onions, mushrooms and Swiss cheese topped with homemade hollandaise, is popular around town. In the mood for something sweeter? Try the bananas foster French toast. ky’s olde towne bicycle shop 2267 carey st., slidell
Bicycles hang over your head at KY’s, an ode to its former days as a bicycle shop, adding to this comfort spot’s nostalgic vibe. Happiness here is a fried shrimp or catfish poboy, oyster aglio olio, or red beans and rice with smoked sausage. Save room for bread pudding doused with a buttered rum sauce for dessert.
the wine garden
300 robert st., slidell
Extensive cheese and charcuterie boards are as lovely as the historic building in Olde Towne Slidell. Try the New Orleans BBQ Shrimp, Korean Steak salad or filet mignon and catch live music performances, including jazz. LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM | 17
You'll Eat Our Words Confused by some of the items on the menu? Here’s a Louisiana lexicon to interpret for you.
and sausage. Served with rice, it can be light brown or dark as swamp water. muffuletta: This traditional sandwich takes its name from the crusty round Italian bread it’s made with. Stuffed inside are several layers of ham, genoa sausage, provolone cheese and chopped olive salad. Eaten warm or cold, the giant sandwich usually serves two or more people. panéed: Meaning coated in breadcrumbs or dredged in flour and pan-fried gently in butter, as in panéed veal, chicken, frog legs or oysters. (Pron. PAN-aid) poboy: A long sandwich on crusty French bread, a poboy really isn’t the same as a submarine or a hoagie. It can be ordered with a variety of fillings, including the most popular: fried shrimp or oysters or long-simmered roast beef slathered in gravy. pralines: A simple candy that’s nevertheless hard to make well. Most pralines are made with sugar, butter, vanilla (or other flavoring like rum) and nuts. (Pron. PRAW-leen) red beans and rice: You’ll often see this as a Monday special at restaurants harking back to the days when south Louisiana women traditionally did the wash on Mondays and needed something slow and easy to ignore on the stove. Red beans are kidney beans and here they’re slow-cooked with seasoning meat till almost creamy, then served with white rice.
Yay for Beignets
you don’t have to go to the french
Quarter to get these pillows of pleasure. Café du Monde, who’s been serving them since 1862, has two locations in St. Tammany. In addition to the original, you can find versions of these heavenly puffs of fried dough heavily dusted with powdered sugar around the Northshore. Hint: Don’t wear black when you go and do grab extra napkins. You’re going to need them. café du monde 70437 highway 21 , covington or 1814 n. causeway blvd., mandeville café au lait
1071 robert blvd ste. 5 , slidell abita roasting company
1011 village walk, covington fat spoon 68480 hwy. 59, mandeville or 2807 n. hwy. 190, covington
Just Chill snowball
up all along the Northshore during the summer months like mushrooms after a rain, and happy customers pop up too, lining up outside for sweet treats of shaved ice topped with syrup. Don’t get overwhelmed by all of the flavors — there will be as many as 20 and up to 50 to choose from. If you can’t decide, get half and half, or top it with condensed milk for an extra dollop of goodness. There’s a stand in just about every neighborhood, so watch for them. 18 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM
PHOTO DAVID GALLENT
ne glance at a menu and you know you’re in Louisiana, even if you aren’t familiar with the dishes. Here’s a brief primer to help you decipher local menus. andouille: This flavorful, spicy sausage is a favorite in chicken and sausage gumbo. (Pron. AHN-doo-ee) bbq shrimp: Not what you think. It means shrimp left in the shell and served almost submerged in a garlicky, peppery butter sauce. Crisp French bread helps you lap up the butter. It’s messy. It’s fattening. It’s okay; live a little. boudin: Another sausage. Though there’s boudin in France, the Louisiana version is a regional specialty made with pork, rice and seasonings. It’s often found in restaurants in the form of fried of boudin balls. (Pron. Boo-DAN) dressed: If you order your poboy dressed, it means you want it “all the way,” which means you want it with lettuce, tomato and pickle. gumbo: You’ve heard this term, probably tasted this Louisiana dish. Though it’s popped up on menus across the U.S., you’re not likely to get the real thing outside of south Louisiana unless it was cooked for you by a transplanted native. A dark, flavorful soup, real gumbo takes a long time to cook and requires a little voodoo to do properly. Most gumbos are variations on two themes: seafood or chicken
Abita Brewing Company, Chafunkta Brewing Company and Old Rail Brewing Company ensure a stein-clanking good time
ouisiana’s first and largest craft brewery, Abita Brewing Company, started in 1986 as a tiny operation in a little pub in Abita Springs. In 1994, it officially outgrew its humble beginnings and moved up the road to a new state-of-the-art green facility, which produces more than 151,000 barrels of Abita beer a year. Along the way, it’s also become one of the Northshore’s most popular tourist attractions. Abita beer now is found in all 50 states and beyond, expanding its fan base and attracting visitors from across the planet. Imbibers come by car and by tour bus (and sometimes by bike, arriving via the nearby Tammany Trace bike path) to taste favorites like Purple Haze and Turbodog at the source. Loyal fans can help determine the fate of the craft brewery’s next releases – all new concoctions by Abita’s brew master Mark Wilson are first tested for popularity in the tap room. Self-guided tours are free; guided tours with tastings are $8. The visitor center and gift shop are open seven days a week and the welcoming taproom makes it easy for anyone to belly up and taste what master brewers, Artesian water and three decades of experience can produce. Craft soda tours are also available seasonally, for sampling Abita Root Beer, Vanilla Cream Soda, and King Cake Soda. Be sure and try The Boot while you’re in Abita’s tap room. This Louisiana-exclusive beer is one you won’t find outside of the Pelican State. Over in Mandeville, nano brewery Chafunkta Brewing Company is open Wednesday-Sunday, and turning out beer with names like Kingfish Ale, Bayou Blaze and Old 504 porter. Though they are on the opposite ends of the spectrum, both breweries boast loyal followings and fun events like trivia nights and regular visits from food trucks. Old Rail Brewing Company’s microbrewery, adjacent to Mandeville’s Tammany Trace Trailhead, has a stout and smooth Cow Catcher Chocolate Milk Stout, Hobo Helles lager and others on tap. The family-friendly restaurant also offers a full menu of savory Louisiana specialties like shrimp and grits and chicken and alligator sauce piquant.
The Barley Oak Biergarten on Lakeshore drive serves up many of these St. Tammany brews all in the same spot, along with terrific sunsets over Lake Pontchartrain and a convivial vibe.
Pontchartrain Vineyards experience some of pontchartrain vineyard’s award-winning wines in its classic tasting room
PHOTO KEVIN GARRETT
adjacent to acres of vines. For $5 per person, sample a flight of wines made right there, including zinfandel, cab/syrah and blanc du bois. Founded in 1991, PV produces about 2,500 cases of wine a year. Wine, music and warm starry nights make for magical moments at Pontchartrain Vineyards’ popular Jazz’n the Vines concerts. Performers like Don Vappie, Charmaine Neville and local girl-done good Amanda Shaw take the small stage outside the tasting room and play for the audience before them, on blankets and in lawn chairs. The greening vines form the backdrop as afternoon turns to a starry evening. 80158 la 1082 , bush
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Experience year-round goodness at the Camellia City Farmers Market by beth d'addono
here are only three things that will stop the rain-or-shine Camellia City Farmers Market from setting up Saturday mornings in Historic Olde Towne Slidell. “Hurricanes, tropical storms and blizzards,” says Danny Blackburn, who started the market almost 12 years ago. “Blizzards have not been a problem.” Despite its longevity, Blackburn still finds shoppers who are discovering the market for the first time. “Once people find us, they keep coming back,” he continues. With 80 percent of the regular vendors on board since the start, seeing familiar faces and knowing folks on a first name basis is part of the market’s charm. Beyond a rotating array of crafts, wonderful garden and farm-grown seasonal fruits and veggies, yard eggs
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and pasture raised meats, a wide range of homemade prepared foods are for sale. Frenchie’s Gourmet Apples and Cake Pops, Abeer’s Lebanese Food, Ollie’s Tamales, Moko Jumbie Hot Sauce and Jean’s Pralines and Sweets are a few of the wildly popular treats. Then there’s the slowcooked Hickory Smoked Barbecue, so delicious that the sign promises “No Teeth Required.” Now that’s tender.
... for farmers markets
abita springs art and farmers market
Sundays 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Artisans, vegetables, wild caught seafood
22049 main st., abita springs mandeville trailhead community market
Saturdays 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Arts and crafts, prepared foodstuffs, fresh produce
675 lafitte st., mandeville lafitte street station market
Saturdays 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and Thursdays 4 – 8 p.m. Breads from scratch, local honey, produce and more
698 lafitte st., mandeville camellia city market
Saturday mornings 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. Prepared foods, tons of fresh produce, live music 333 erlanger st., slidell
covington farmers market
Saturday mornings and Wednesdays 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Creole cream cheese, Kombucha, organic meats & produce and live music 609 n. columbia , covington (on saturdays) 419 n. new hampshire, covington (on wednesdays)
PHOTO DANNY BLACKBURN (3)
From Farm to Market in Downtown Slidell
Chef LoLo and his wife/partner Christine Clouatre
FIVE SPOTS ... to dine with kids
middendorf ’s slidell
The new Slidell location of Middendorf’s is grand and outfitted with whimsy. Known for their thin fried catfish and outstanding seafood, Middendorf’s has a wrap-around dining porch overlooking an expansive sandy beach with tiki huts, palm trees and fountains. 1951 oak harbor blvd., slidell pizza man
The Whole Shack Shimmies There's a taste of the Caribbean (and a stone groove) at this neighborhood hangout in Covington
PHOTO KEVIN GARRETT
hef Thomas “LoLo” LoPresti’s cuisine has a colorful Caribbean kick, just like the fun and funky restaurant he operates with his wife, Christine Clouatre. The two met in St. Croix and reconnected in New Orleans, where they started a family. Together with Dean Thomas and Adam Foster, they opened The Shack in Covington to be closer to Christine’s family as their own was growing. They envisioned a welcoming restaurant with a comfortable, family-friendly vibe where their own kids could play. And they’ve succeeded in creating one of those rare dining experiences that the whole family truly enjoys. The secret is the ShackYard, an openair patio for al fresco dining with a tin roof, brightly painted picnic tables and twinkling lights. It looks like it’s been transplanted from the islands, too. The fencedin yard is filled with a hodge-podge of toys, including a basketball hoop attached to one of the lush oaks encircling the perimeter, hula hoops waiting to be picked up and spun endlessly in circles, a child’s dart
set, Nerf balls, play houses and toy cars. Christine moves with purpose among the circus, her winsome smile flashing at each table as she checks on guests and doles out glow necklaces, extra crayons and trinkets to her littlest patrons. Live music and inventive cocktails keep the convivial atmosphere going. And the food. With Latin and Caribbean influences, the menu is impeccable, beautifully presented and bursting with fresh flavors to satisfy the most discerning palates. You’ll want to order the bacon and lump crabmeat guacamole for the table. You can’t go wrong with the marinated skirt steak, and good luck choosing from the taco bar with options like fried fish with watermelon salsa, smoked pork with pineapple slaw, carne asada with pico de gallo or fried avocado and cilantro on house made tortillas. At the end of a soul-satisfying family evening, you’ll find yourself saying, “YES!” when your kids ask plaintively, “Mom, can we go there again?” 1204 w. 21st ave., covington
The oldest owner-operated pizza place on the Northshore lets the little ones view pizza craftsmen tossing dough and making pizza behind a huge window. The charming pizza makers interact with the kids for a really fun experience. 1248 n collins blvd., covington the chimes
This lively spot serving Louisiana specialties has outdoor seating on large decks and a series of boardwalks leading around massive cypress trees down to the Bogue Falaya River. Kids love to spot the resident goats (servers will graciously bring cut up carrots), and can spy fish swimming below. 19130 rogers ln., covington bruiser ’s
Decorated with a patriotic theme, Bruiser’s has indoor and outdoor seating, giant Jenga, and all manner of gourmet hot dogs. The cheddar bacon ranch tots are an indulgence that feels like a necessity. 1904 front st., slidell the beach house
One block off of the Mandeville lakefront, the open-air Beach House has brightly painted picnic tables (full and kid-sized) for family dining. Live music creates a cheery vibe, but the real draw is the sandy beach playground area chock-full of toys and play equipment for the kids. 124 girod st., mandeville
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St. Tammany Parish is the best place on the planet if you’re craving these crustaceans
amily life and social life in Louisiana both revolve around food. Nothing illustrates that better than crawfish season. Arrivals of the year’s first sacks of crawfish usually merit an announcement on the evening news, kicking off a feeding frenzy that lasts for months. Though the season can vary a little, supplies are most plentiful and most reliable from January to June. At peak season (around April), Louisianans celebrate spring with huge crawfish boils, cooking up 30 and 40-pound sacks of the crustaceans in cauldrons of spicedup boiling water. There’s almost always crab boil (usually Zatarain’s) involved, and cayenne pepper, salt and lemons. Different cooks favor varied additions — corn on the cob, potatoes, mushrooms, whole 22 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM
garlic pods and sausage among them. The crawfish et al often are dumped, steaming, onto a tall table that has been lined with newspaper and family and friends gather around, standing, to feast, drink, laugh and repeat. Visitors sometimes are invited to these convivial crawfish boils (or are lucky enough to take part in one at Cajun Encounters swamp tours, which sometimes hosts them for visiting groups). But seafood markets and restaurants get in on the action, too, selling hot boiled crawfish by the pound. (Expect to eat, on average, 3-to-5 pounds each!) Crawfish aren’t just served boiled. You’ll find them in iconic Louisiana dishes like crawfish étouffée or silky bisque, thrown into fettucine and other pasta dishes, battered and fried.
FIVE SPOTS ... for crawfish
fatty ’s seafood restaurant
Boiled and fried seafood and crawfish étouffée, too. 1300 gause blvd., slidell
mandeville seafood market
Take home or eat there at the popular market and restaurant. 2020 la hwy 59, mandeville kenney seafood
Boiled crawfish is among the Northshore’s best.
400 pontchartrain drive, slidell orlando’s seafood restaurant
Locals love this spot known for boiled seafood. 304 la-22 , madisonville house of seafood
Legendary selection of seafood at this buffet-style restaurant off the beaten path. 81790 la-21 , bush
PHOTOS KEVIN GARRETT; MELANIE SOULES
Love 'Dem Crawfish
treat yourself PHOTO KEVIN GARRETT
Some of us just need to shop. You’ll find plenty of shopping ops on the Northshore, so let’s go! LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM | 23
The Thrill of the Hunt
You never know what youâ€™ll find when you go antiquing on the Northshore
ntique shops are scattered through Olde Towne Slidell, Old Mandeville and Downtown Covington. Offerings throughout each of these verdant, easily walkable neighborhoods are diverse and may include fine antique furniture and collectibles such as religious ephemera, rare textiles and rugs from far-away lands. Some featured clothing includes vintage haute couture, Elvis-era jumpsuits and every conceivable thing in between.
Mae's Antiques on Girod Street
by jyl benson
Cottage Antiques: What looks like a small cottage on the outside turns out to be a rather vast series of rooms filled with treasures, mostly from bygone eras, all of which are arranged into logical categories. There are collections of old and rare coins and cameo brooches and necklaces, knives, jewelry, musical instruments, religious ephemera, china, table linens and mirrors. There is a room devoted to beautiful clothing, ranging from vintage to contemporary, for infants and young children. 205 lee lane, covington
lee lane area in covington
olde towne slidell
Annette's House of Decor Antique Mall: Have a thing for political items from days gone by? This is your spot. One of the 18 dealers represented here purchased an extensive collection of memorabilia from a Mississippi woman who served as a state campaign manager for a host of politicos including FDR, Truman and Kennedy. Contemporary offerings include luxury custom window fashions, exclusive Brown Bear Pottery and chalk painted furniture. 1928 1st st., slidell
Copper Rooster: Offerings here range from Claire Burke home fragrances and contemporary shelf brackets to well-preserved stained glass windows and vintage garden accessories. One room is heavy on fine English and French china and serveware, another with old shutters, doors and chandeliers. A stunningly beautifully preserved kimono from 1950s Japan was a thrill to find. 222 lee lane, covington
Antiques & Art on First: This cozy spot strikes an elegant note just as soon as you step through the door. Proprietor John Marshall's tastes lean toward oak and mahogany furnishings, plenty of glass and mirrors and military antiques. Though an 1890s US Army-issued Murphy cot has been repurposed as a table, one cannot help but stop and think what it must have been like to drag an oak bed about after a long day of battle. 1952 1st st., slidell
Eclectic Inn: Most appropriately named, Janet Clarke's Eclectic Inn is stocked with all manner of interesting things. She spent 15 years in Pensacola, Florida, near a military base where people brought treasures from all over the world. Look for vintage hand-crocheted quilts, ladiesâ€™ clothing and accessories from the 1960s through the 2000s, repurposed items, antique furniture and serving pieces. 214 lee lane, covington
Magnolia House Antique Mall: If you enjoy digging for treasure, come on in. This cottage is crammed with collections from several vendors spilling into several rooms. Look for vintage oil-burning lanterns, Depression-era and cobalt glass and aged home care tools. Anglers will delight in the selection of antique fishing poles. The most unique room is packed full of less commonly seen men's clothing and accessories. 228 erlanger st., slidell
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PHOTO ERIC LINDBERG
Mae Antiques and Collectibles: Two friendly Scotties greet you upon entering this cozy shop. The yards, both front and back, are stocked heavily with both vintage and contemporary yard furniture, fountains, chimineas and garden accessories. Inside, delightful finds include old toy cars and trucks, vintage California-made ceramics (real McCoy pottery), old political campaign buttons, military antiques, albums (very early Rolling Stones) and a beautiful selection of quality costume jewelry. 420 girod st., mandeville
FIVE SPOTS ... for St. Tammany souvenirs jose balli
Sterling silver Spanish Moss pendant
3424 us-190, mandeville abita brewery
Abita Cooking Louisiana True Cookbook
166 barbee road, abita springs kenney seafood
Schwings SOS Oyster shells
400 pontchartrain drive, slidell redoux
Coasters from local artist Christina Pappion
2983 us-190, mandeville
Sal & Judy’s Creole Italian sauces, dressings
125 e 21st ave., covington
Locally designed clothing, gifts and goods for the home in Mandeville by jyl benson
PHOTO CHRISTINA COOPER
rustic tin roof and a splash of pink roses beckon from the curb outside of the Fleurty Girl boutique in Mandeville. Inside, colors pop off of pristine white walls and pale wooden floors that are awash in plenty of natural light, thereby creating the perfect backdrop for the vibrant t-shirts, clothing, housewares and Louisiana-themed gifts that the Fleurty Girl brand is known for. Dramatic-yet-festive touches are provided by a series of chandeliers — one of them Fleurty Girl's signature, grass green. There are salvaged architectural corbels repurposed as decorative items and support beams for the fitting rooms painted the same hue. There’s also a striped accent wall of, you guessed it, the same cheerful green. But the t-shirts are the stars. The tongue-in-cheek sayings splashed across the front are an ode to everything we love about living in Louisiana. “Who’s your daddy?” on a crawfish silhouette; “Call Me Old Fashioned” on a lowball glass; and “I slapped Ouiser Boudreaux” (from Steel Magnolias, bless your heart) just make you smile. Ashleigh Bagley, general manager since the Mandeville boutique opened in 2011, says the shop enjoys enormous pop-
ularity with both local patrons and visitors to the area. Fleurty Girl also offers tax free shopping to international guests. "New designs and products are constantly arriving," Bayley says, "and we pride ourselves on outstanding customer service." The Mandeville location was the fourth for Lauren LeBlanc, "Big Chief Fleurty Girl," who founded the smash success line of boutiques in 2009 on a wish and a prayer as a single mother of three. The first shop was a tiny affair on Oak Street in Uptown New Orleans. She and her children lived in a pair of rooms behind the shop. She started off specializing in whimsical t-shirts for women, many of which were her of her own designs, all of them with themes celebrating local culture. Now Lauren Leblanc Haydel, 39, she and her husband, Ryan Haydel, share a stately home in New Orleans' Garden District with their blended family of five. Business continues to grow. Last fall, Leblanc Haydel opened the seventh Fleurty Girl location at New Orleans' Louis Armstrong airport. An eighth location in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, will open this fall. 2885 us hwy. 190, mandeville (985) 778-0341
FIVE SPOTS ... to shop
fremaux town center, slidell
Tenants include Best Buy, Dillards, Dick’s Sporting Goods, TJ Maxx and numerous restaurants. Located off the Fremaux exit. downtown covington
The town’s historic district is a walkable feast for shopaholics. Check out Lee Lane, Rutland and Columbia streets. You’ll find antiques, art, jewelry, gift items, clothing and free parking, too. premier shopping centers , mandeville
The Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Anne Taylor Loft are among the shops at this large center on Highway 190. river chase shopping center, covington
Located at I-12 and Highway 21, the center beckons with Best Buy, Marshall’s, Target and Men’s Warehouse. (Restaurants and a multiplex movie theater, too.) pinnacle nord du lac, covington
Find Kohl’s, Kirkland’s and Academy here, as well as Hobby Lobby and Bra Genie. I-12 at Pinnacle Parkway. LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM | 25
Visit the pristine Honey Island Swamp, hold a baby gator, tour a mystery house, feed a family of giraffes or bike the Tammany Trace. Thereâ€™s a lot to discover.
PHOTOS KEVIN GARRETT
come on in
Cajun Encounters Tours Honey Island Swamp
If you want to see what the world looked like millions of years ago, come visit the Honey Island Swamp
T PHOTOS ERIC LINDBERG (2)
he Honey Island Swamp, on the northeast edge of St. Tammany Parish, is pristine and lovely, especially in the spring when cypress trees go from dormant to brilliant green. Everything surges to life, the flora and especially the fauna; there are deer and boar, raccoons and nutria, and an abundance of bird life circling, soaring and building nests. You’ll see turtles, too, sometimes several of them, soaking in sunshine from the tops of old logs. And yes, there are gators. They’re out there watching warily from muddy banks, cruising by your tour boat with curiosity. Several tour companies, including Cajun Encounters, Dr. Wagner’s and Pearl River Eco-Tours,
take visitors into the Honey Island Swamp (and yes, bring them out, too). Reservations are a good idea. Most tours run about two hours and are given on easy-to-board boats launching from Slidell. The Honey Island Swamp encompasses almost 70,000 acres, more than half of which is preserved for posterity as part of the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area. Keep an eye out for pileated woodpeckers and great blue herons stalking a bullfrog dinner. And keep a keen eye out for the Honey Island Swamp Monster, a Bigfoot-like creature some say has called the marsh home for centuries. LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM | 27
GATOR FACTS • The American alligator averages about 800 pounds and can be 10-15 feet long, though the largest ever recorded was found here in Louisiana and measured 19.2 feet. • Alligators can run about 20 miles per hour in short bursts. • The state’s alligator population is around two million, the most of any state. After population declines by the mid-20th century, harvest quotas were put into place. Populations now are at sustainable levels.
• Alligators today represent a $50 million industry for Louisiana. Shoes, purses and other items of alligator skin fetch high prices and the meat, which is classified as seafood (but, yes, tastes like chicken), is increasingly offered in restaurants. • Mating season is April to May. Females build a nest and lay 20-60 eggs, then cover the nest with vegetation and hang out ‘til August when eggs begin to hatch. • As a species, alligators have been around for about 37 million years. 28 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM
An Alligator for All Seasons Insta-Gator Ranch and Hatchery welcomes visitors year-round, but now is the best time to come
f you’re interested in alligators — and, really, who isn’t? — we’ve got the place for you. Insta-Gator Ranch and Hatchery near Covington is home to more than 2,000 alligators and a few humans who interact with them. Insta-Gator offers fun and educational tours and programs that will teach you all about the prehistoric reptiles and even give you a chance to touch one. The ranch is open year-round but is more active when the gators are. Spring and summer are great times to visit, especially August when you can make a
reservation to actually hatch a baby gator in your hand! It’s quite an experience to hold an egg and see the little creatures emerge from the shell. Visitors hear all about the harvesting of gator eggs, often from area waterways like Bayou Castine, and watch a video before visiting alligators in tanks in their covered barns. There’s a touch pool and gift shop at Insta-gator, too, where they like to say you’ll learn everything about the American alligator “from hatchling to handbag.” 23440 lowe davis road, covington
PHOTO KEVIN GARRETT
• Diet consists mostly of fish, turtles, small mammals and birds, though alligators have been known to attack dogs, deer and on rare occasions, humans.
Abita Mystery House's porch and mastermind John Preble (below)
PHOTOS ERIC LINDBERG (2)
Something Lurking Around Every Corner The Abita Mystery House is a Louisiana roadside attraction like no other
dds are you’ll either love it or hate it. There’s not much middle ground for visitors to the Abita Mystery House, an explosion of oddball collections, art and humor thrown together like the ingredients to some kind of great cosmic gumbo. You get it. Or you don’t. That’s okay with John Preble, the mad scientist stirring the pot: He gets his jollies — and his three bucks admission — either way. Formerly known as the UCM Museum (a Preble joke, as in you-see-‘em), the folk
artsy roadside attraction has been welcoming visitors since 1993 when Preble turned a vintage gas station, old barn and Creole cottage into a popular roadside attraction. Filling the structures, and green spaces in between, with more than 50,000 found objects (“brick” phones, transistor boards, paint-by-number scenes, bottle caps, arcade games … etc.) and his own art, Preble created an altered-states kind of universe where you never know what’s around the corner or through the next door. 22275 highway 36, abita springs
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Bike riders enjoying a cruise on the Tammany Trace
Tracing Your Way
he 31-mile-long Tammany Trace winds through green spaces, parks and over bayous, connecting five communities and offering all who travel the path a way to experience the Northshore’s natural beauty. Originally a corridor for the Illinois Central Railroad, the Trace now is a walkable, rideable asphalt ribbon stretching from downtown Covington, continuing through Abita Springs, Mandeville, Lacombe and Slidell. It’s so special that it was inducted into the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame in 2017. Some users stroll or pedal leisurely. Others power-walk the path or even horseback ride along the adjacent horse trail. Serious cyclists, in racing jerseys and Lycra shorts with padded buns, whiz through from beginning to end and back. Whether you walk a few blocks or go the 30 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM
distance, the Trace is a lovely way to explore the Northshore. There are numerous entry spots for the Trace, Louisiana’s only (and first) rails-totrails conversion, but the official trailhead is located on Koop Drive off Highway 59. A green caboose serves as the information center and ranger office. Also, here are restrooms, water fountains, a playground and picnic tables. There are trailheads with parking and restrooms in downtown Covington, Abita Springs, Mandeville and Slidell. (Bike rentals are available in several towns; see related story.) The Tammany Trace is closed to motorized traffic except for the small carts used by park rangers who patrol its length from 7:30 a.m. to dusk daily. Visit TammanyTrace.org for a map and to plan your outing.
BIKE RENTALS brooks’ bike shop
Patrick Brooks operates two bike shops on the Northshore, one near the Mandeville lakefront and another in downtown Covington at the start of the Tammany Trace bike path. Guided tours can be scheduled with as few as three people of Old Mandeville, Covington, the Trace, and there’s even a brewery tour by bike. You can pick out your bike online in advance and check out the surreys for a fun group experience. brooksbikeshop.com bayou adventure
Located near the scenic Lacombe drawbridge of the Tammany Trace, this outpost has tons of Louisiana snacks, great food and souvenirs to stock up on for your ride. Kayak rentals and guided paddling tours, too. bayouadventure.com
PHOTOS KEVIN GARRETT (2)
The historic (and iconic) Tammany Trace is a nature lover's paradise
Meet the animals up close and personal at the Global Wildlife Center
Where the Wild Things Are
You feed the animals on safari at Global Wildlife Center in Folsom
T PHOTO CHERYL SCHNEIDER
he excitement builds on the approach. Scenery along rural, tree-lined Highway 40, as it ribbons through the northwestern corner of St. Tammany Parish, begins to subtly change. Suddenly open grassland resembles an African savanna — and in more ways than one. The sight of zebras and Father David deer, giraffes and elands signal that you are about to enter a special place. Global Wildlife Center is the largest free-roaming wildlife preserve of its kind in the U.S., home to more than 4,000 exotic and endangered animals living on 900 scenic acres. Visitors have a few options to explore Global. Many opt for the safari tours in large motorized wagons that travel the grounds, providing on-high views and the opportunity to toss feed to many of the animals as they approach the wagon. The private Pinzgauer tours are a great choice for families and
animal lovers who want a unique and once-in-a-lifetime encounter. Seating up to 8 people, the 4x4 vehicles put guests eye level with Global’s inhabitants who often follow or surround the vehicle. Stroke a giraffe’s neck as she leans over your shoulder. Amazingly beautiful up close, the giraffes are persistent — they want that food! — but they’re gentle. Touch the massive, wooly head of an American bison, or the horns of Watusi cattle as they feed from your hand. Deer, llamas and zebras come up close, and gaggles of fat geese waddle at top speed behind the Pinz as it pulls away. Safari tours are given several times daily; Pinzgauer tours require reservations. There’s also a relatively recent addition; a Can Am Defender Tour. All make unforgettable memories for kids of all ages. Call (985) 796-3585 for tour availability. 26389 highway 40, folsom
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adventure experiences Get in touch with your inner adventurer on the Northshore, where you can go hiking, fishing, camping and paddling all year long. Rent gear or take a charter, but get out there and play.
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FIVE SPOTS ... to make a splash
fontainebleau state park
This 2,800 acre-park not only has a splash pad, it also has a sandy beach with shallow water to wade in, too. 62883 la-1089, mandeville coquille sports complex
This large splash pad area and playground has lots of shady space for watchful parents. 13505 la-1085 , covington mandeville trailhead
Children love to splash at the Tammany Trace Trailhead in Mandeville and climb the steps to the lookout. 675 lafitte st., mandeville abita springs park
The Abita Brew Pub, the Abita River and a playground are nearby this popular splash site. 22044 main st., abita springs lakeshore drive
Playgrounds, a swing set and a sandy beach are part of this splash pad complex.
1545 lakeshore drive, mandeville
Tubing the Bogue Chitto many louisiana memories have been
PHOTOS KEVIN GARRETT; BOBBY TALLEY
made along the Bogue Chitto River, a sleepy, scenic, tree-lined waterway perfect for tubing. Drifting lazily in an oversized float, the sounds of laughter and splashing water all around is a summer ritual. Several operators offer tubing trips down the Bogue Chitto, including tube rental, life vests and shuttles. Some rent special tubes for ice chests, too. The fun goes like this: Park, float for a couple blissful hours, get picked up and shuttled back to your car. Operators include Bogue Chitto Tubing Center in Bogalusa and Louisiana River Adventures and Rocky Bottom Tubing, both in Franklinton.
Our waterways are as widely traveled as freeways
n the Northshore, many locals have their own boat, live on the water and enjoy endless opportunities for water recreation. And if you don’t have a boat, most likely you have a friend who does. Luckily, there are two charter captains offering two very different and fun ways to navigate the Northshore. Chances are you’ll be friends with them by the time you set sail. Captain Rick Delaune of Delaune Sailing Charters in Mandeville offers twoand-a-half-hour cruises on Lake Pontchartrain for up to six passengers on his beautiful Windward Passage, a 42-foot Hunter Passage yacht. This comfortable, stable vessel has great views and thick, comfortable seating in the cockpit and aft lounging area. Excursions sail out of Bayou Castine, a lush area of Southeast Louisiana nestled between Mandeville and Fontainebleau State Park. There’s ample opportunity to see abundant wildlife and plants, and in spring, migrating birds. Two trips are offered per day; a Midday Trip and a Sunset Sail, seven days a week. Every charter is custom-catered for guests. Beverages and snacks are provided, along with compli-
mentary Champagne on the Sunset Sail.
For a fun-loving excursion out on the water, book a Louisiana Tours and Adventures pontoon tour of the Tchefuncte River with Captain Mike Jones. Captain Mike prides himself on giving his guests the tour they want, with options like swimming at scenic Brady Island, an area off of the Tchefuncte River where boats idle up to each other and friends meet for a swim and float in the water, frequently with a koozie in hand. Bring your own picnic and a bottle of wine to dine al fresco with a 360-degree water view, and head out to the historic Tchefuncte River Lighthouse to see the sun set over Lake Pontchartrain. Or, stop at T. Rivers Bar & Grill, a waterfront open-air dive beloved for live music, dancing and the Swamp Water Bucket, their signature sweet, electric-green drink. Wildlife spotting is thrilling. You might see a pair of bald eagles, alligators, herons, a barred owl, egrets and deer as you explore the beautiful river system. Three- and fivehour custom tours are available for groups of up to six people. louisianatoursandadventures.com
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Paddle the Day Away
Paddling along the Bogue Falaya River with Canoe and Trail Adventures
With skilled outfitters supplying you the toy of your choice, our otherworldly waterworld awaits
ith scenic rivers, bayous and Lake Pontchartrain to explore, the Northshore is a great spot for paddlers There are a number of easily accessible launch spots across the area. You can bring your own gear but you don’t have to. Kayaks, canoes and paddleboards are available for rent at several locations for paddling at your own pace, and there are tour operators happy to take you out for a day on the water. Step inside Bayou Adventure in Lacombe, an outpost for all things outdoors, and immerse yourself in authentic Louisiana. Visitors from all over the world have strolled through the doors and stood among the displays of shrimp boots and rods, lures and live bait tanks. Campers at Fontainebleau State Park in nearby Mandeville are happy that Bayou Adventure is now servicing the state park in a public-private partnership with the Louisiana Office of Tourism. You can find bikes for exploring the nearby Tammany Trace, as well as kayaks and paddleboards available for rent for adventures on nearby Lake Pontchartrain or Cane Bayou. Bayou Adventure also has its Bayou Kitchen serving Louisiana specialties like alligator sausage, boiled crawfish, poboys, boudin, crawfish pies, fried okra and more. There’s a plethora of locally-made products too, like honey, “cracklins”’ (fried pork skin), and Louisiana craft beer. Bayou Adventure also offers sunset paddles down Cane Bayou to the lake just in time to catch the glorious pink, purple and gold 34 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM
sunsets we have come to expect here but never tire of seeing. Enjoy the scenery — watch for osprey and eagles, boar on the banks and alligators in the reeds under moss-draped branches — or try your luck fishing from your kayak. Northshore Hydro Sports provides the new experience of flyboarding as well as rental, delivery and pick-up of kayaks and paddleboards for exploration of the Tchefuncte River system in Madisonville. Canoe and Trail Adventures’ guides are Louisiana Master Naturalist certified, and are great for pointing out the wildlife along the way and sharing knowledge about the waterways and its flora and fauna. They also offer rentals of paddleboards, family canoes, and kayaks launching from the popular Chimes Restaurant on the scenic Bogue Falaya River. Wade in the shallows and spot fish schooling in its clear waters or play on the sandy river banks as you go. Or, paddle to nearby Bogue Falaya Park and use the new paddler’s launch to moor up and explore. After you work up an appetite paddling with Canoe and Trail, slurp some fresh Gulf oysters shucked on site at The Chimes, or enjoy Louisiana specialties like alligator, crawfish étoufée, BBQ shrimp, or red beans and rice. The kids will love playing on the boardwalks and meeting the Chimes’ resident goats. Their parents will appreciate the extensive collection of beer on tap.
Newbies to the sport and world-renowned fishermen sink a line in various waterways all over the Parish
ishing is a favorite pastime on the Northshore and a fun activity year-round for families who can throw out a line from Mandeville’s free fishing pier at Sunset Point, along Lake Road’s marshy banks in Lacombe, or from the St. Tammany Parish Fishing Pier in Slidell. But there’s action for serious anglers, too, thanks to the many charter captains launching out of Northshore marinas. With easy access to Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Borgne, the Rigolets Pass and the Biloxi Marsh, charters are a great way to spend the day on the water. Area captains know where to go for trophy trout, record redfish, largemouth bass, sheepshead, tripletail, flounder and drum. Some, like Mike Gallo of Angling Adventures of
Louisiana and Dudley Vandenborre, famous for his Deadly Dudley lures, make regular appearances on Louisiana fishing shows, sharing expertise and tips on where fish are biting. Basic info: Charters often start just before daylight and end in the early afternoon. Most charters can carry five-to-six people. You don’t need to know the difference between spinnerbait and jigging spoons; most welcome anglers of all skill levels and all ages, too. You’ll need to make a reservation. You won’t have to clean your fish; your captain does that for you. For more information, visit fishthenorthshore.com and download our new Fish On! guide to fishing the Northshore.
Round ’em Up PHOTOS DEB BURST;JGUILES CANDID; U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE
The Youth Fishing Rodeo takes over Bogue Chitto June 13-Register Early! by beth d'addono
here’s no such thing as being too young to fish. That’s why the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service invites kids 4 to 12 to the 27th Annual Bogue Chitto Youth Fishing Rodeo on June 13, 2020, for a chance to feel the thrill of that tug on the line. Why teach kids to fish? Fishing teaches important life skills. It gives kids confidence, builds motor skills and coordination, shores up independence and connects kids to the real while taking them out of the digital world. Fishing also teaches youngsters where food really comes from, which is not shrinkwrapped in the supermarket. Taking over the Pearl River Turnaround Fishing Access Site (at
Fly(boarding) Like an Eagle who hasn’t wished they could fly?
Soar like a shorebird over the waters of the Tchefuncte River with flyboarding, an extreme water sport offered by Northshore Hydro Sports, for a very cool way to beat the Louisiana heat. Flyboarding uses a device that’s attached via a 60-foot fire hose to the jet discharge of a Personal Water Craft (think Jet Ski). The “pilot” slips his feet into the device’s bindings and the propulsion of the PWC pumps more than 1,000 gallons of water per minute through the flyboard, sending the pilot as much as 40 feet into the air. Skilled pilots do acrobatic tricks, circles and dives, but even beginner adventurers can have a blast on the device. Instructors take participants out on Madisonville's Tchefuncte River for 20and 30-minute flights for ages 16 and up.
Exit 11 on Interstate 59 north of Pearl River) from 7:30 to 11 a.m., the rodeo’s $20 advance registration fee benefits the Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges. A t-shirt, rod-and-reel, tackle, bait and lunch is included in the entrance fee. Families and cheerleaders are welcome but only kids that register by the end of May 2020 can fish for prizes, which will be awarded by age, kind of fish and overall biggest catch. Whether you are new to fishing or a seasoned angler, fishing brings friends and families together, a life-long learning experience that can start with this Northshore adventure on the Bogue Chitto. fws.gov/refuge/bogue_chitto/youthfishingrodeo.html
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Happy Campers Northshore state parks inspire campers to get out by beth d’addono
n days when Susan Pearson gets run ragged at her hospital human resources job, she closes her eyes and pictures the ancient live oaks and great blue herons she sees when camping with her family at Fontainebleau State Park. “What I love most about camping in the park is that it takes me away from my busy life,” she says. “Being there helps me regroup, slow down and enjoy life with my family.” Pearson, who camps regularly with her husband Louis and their 10 grandkids ages two months to 17 years, isn’t alone. Camping is hot and getting hotter. According to the most recent North American Camping Report, 41.77 million Americans camped in 2017, a spike of more than a million campers from the previous year. On the beautiful Northshore, Fontainebleau and Fairview-Riverside State Parks deliver all kinds of options. discover fontainebleau
At Fontainebleau in Mandeville, Louisiana’s most-visited state park, accommodations for campers of all tastes abound. If your idea of roughing it is staying in a hotel without a pool, reserve one of 12 deluxe cabins that stretch out over the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Cabins may sound rustic, but these beautiful cottages, equipped with amenities like AC, Wi-Fi, cable TV and barbecue grills, are ideal for friends and family reunions who seek a cushy getaway. Sit a spell on the back porch overlooking the lake, and life is good. Bring bikes to ride on the nearby Tammany Trace and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife — birdlife abounds; you’ll most likely see deer and yes, there are gators in the park’s bayous. Get even closer to nature at one of the park’s campsites, 106 improved with water, electricity, grills and picnic tables, situated close to a bathhouse and dump station for RVers. Pearson and her family park their camper in this section of the grounds. “We bought it three years ago when my husband retired and it’s opened fontainebleau state park
62883 hwy. 1089, mandeville (985) 624-4443 fairview-riverside state park 119 fairview drive, madisonville (985) 845-3318
36 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM
up a new world for us. Everybody is so friendly — it’s really like a big family.” The rest of the park’s sites are more primitive, ideal for getting away from it all. Camping groups from 25 to 150 can meet up at the park’s two primitive group camping areas and enjoy park amenities like beachfront access and fishing piers. Set up for socializing and ideal for reunions, Group Camp I and Group Camp III feature dormitory sleeping areas, fully equipped kitchens and A/C, most necessary during Louisiana’s steamy summers. Just across U.S. Highway 190 from the main section of the park is the Fontainebleau State Park Lodge, equipped with a full kitchen, two bathrooms and sleeping space for 10-to-12 people. retreat to fairview-riverside state park
Situated just two miles east of Madisonville, Fairview-Riverside State Park sprawls over 99 scenic acres along the banks of the bucolic Tchefuncte River. Campers and day visitors can take pontoon tours of the river, wander the park’s nature trail, troll for crabs or fish or just relax under a canopy of live oaks. If you’re staying overnight, the park offers 81 sites perfect for RVers, all with electricity and water hook-ups, nearby bathrooms and showers as well as the necessary dump station. But campers interested in hanging out under the stars will love the designated tent camping section of the park with bathrooms nearby, but the rest of the scene is all Mother Nature. Behaved doggies on-leash are welcome. The onsite Otis House Museum, built in 1885, is an interesting tour. Tours are offered by appointment, Tuesday — Saturday. Call ahead to schedule (985) 792-4652. However you use your outdoor time, there’s one thing you’re sure to bring home with you after your experience. “Camping makes memories that will last a lifetime,” Pearson says. “That’s something money just can’t buy.”
Put Your Toes in the Sand
Visitors are always pleasantly surprised when they discover our stretches of sand
ven though most wouldn’t consider the Northshore a beach destination, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of sandy beaches perfect for making memories on a lazy summer day. Families love the beach along the Lake Pontchartrain shoreline in Mandeville’s Fontainebleau State Park. The calm, shallow water is perfect for small children to wade on in. Follow the walking trail west along the beach to find a maze of cypress tree roots just waiting for a photo op or little legs to climb them. Keep walking and you’ll come to a few smaller, more secluded patches of sand. Also in Mandeville, head to the east side of Lakeshore Drive and enjoy the sunset or catch some rays as the kids scramble around on the playground and build castles on its adjacent sandy beach. And in Slidell, check out the powdery sand of Northshore Beach, great for family picnics with its two pavilions and picnic tables. As you explore along the Bogue Falaya, Abita or Bogue Chitto Rivers, you’ll find scores of spots to sprawl out on the sun-soaked sand. Land-O-Pines Campground on the Simalusa Creek boasts beautiful sandy beaches and clear waters to splash in.
PHOTO KEVIN GARRETT
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looking back Northshore residents live among the ghosts of St. Tammanyâ€™s past. Experience history at places like the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum, Bayou Lacombe and Slidell Museums.
St. Tammany timeline
The Choctaw inhabit the northern shore of Lake Pontchartrain, which they called Okwa’ta (meaning “wide water”).
The Republic of West Florida is formed to revolt against Spanish authority in the area — and lasts 74 days.
Louisiana admitted to the Union in April. West Florida resists but becomes part of the state five months later.
Bernard de Marigny builds sugar plantation (now Fontainebleau State Park), then founds Mandeville a few miles west.
Tourism boom begins in Abita Springs when a doctor declares the area’s local springs have restorative qualities.
PHOTOS KEVIN GARRETT (2); ERIC LINDBERG
Explorers Pierre LeMoyne Sieur d’Iberville and Jean Batiste LeMoyne Sieur de Bienville check out the Northshore.
The U.S. acquires 828,000 square miles of territory in the Louisiana Purchase, which does not include St. Tammany Parish.
Originally home to Choctaw and other tribes, the Parish has been shaped by various cultures and events
First span of the 24-mile Pontchartrain Causeway is built, creating the longest continuous bridge over water in the world.
Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum
t’s hard not to imagine the nearby Tchefuncte River filled with schooners, war ships and steamers when you visit the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum in picturesque Madisonville. The museum tells the story of the Northshore’s seaport roots through well-done exhibits, artifacts (a Civil War submarine!), video and events like wooden boat building classes and the Wooden
Boat Festival held each October. The museum is custodian of the nearby Tchefuncte River Lighthouse, built in 1837 and still standing but put at risk by storms and shoreline erosion. You can’t tour the lighthouse but you can visit the lightkeeper’s cottage, moved from the mouth of the Tchefuncte where it long stood next to the lighthouse. 133 mabel drive, madisonville
HJ Smith & Sons you can’t miss the obviously old wooden
structure on Covington’s Columbia Street, with its wagon out front, vintage swing and Bonanza vibe. Opened in 1876, HJ Smith & Sons General Store and Museum is still operated by the Smith family who’ve stocked it to the rafters with everything from camo to garden gnomes, and the precise nail needed for a home project. You’ll find everything you didn’t know you needed here, and more. Floors creak and history hangs in the air, especially when a small ramp leads you into the original general store, preserved by the family in all its mercantile glory as a free museum. It’s fun to see the artifacts of Covington’s past including a cast iron casket, 20-foot cypress dugout and old-timey cases crammed with detergent-box china, farm tools and dry goods. Introduce yourself to Larry Smith while you’re here; he’s a wealth of information and is proud to share his family’s history and Covington’s heritage. 308 n. columbia st., covington LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM | 39
Old ledger from the Slidell Jail
FIVE SPOTS ... to visit history
fontainebleau sugar mill ruins
uilt in 1907, the historic building that housed Slidell Town Hall until 1954 and the jail until 1963 is an unassuming building that belies the extensive collection of artifacts inside. The museum displays two floors of photos and memorabilia from Slidell’s history as well as the South’s role in the Civil War. Visitors learn about Slidell’s history as a railroad town, as well as some if its illustrious original European inhabitants, including Fritz Salmen, whose empire included brickmaking, lumber, shipbuilding, farming and more. Also featured in the museum is Baron Frederick Erlanger, who named the town and railroad station
after his father-in-law, John Slidell (who, incidentally, never set foot in the city that bears his name). Guests to the museum get a kick out of going inside the jail cells (claustrophobics, beware) and taking an Instagram-worthy photo behind bars. On display is a register of every person booked into the jail, and longtime residents find folly as well as relatives on the list. On the second floor is the Mardi Gras Museum, with more than 800 items of Carnival memorabilia including glittering Krewe costumes and throws. Call (985) 646-4380 before you go. Normal hours are Wednesday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 2020 first st., slidell
Bayou Lacombe Museum
istory and culture meet in the newly reopened Bayou Lacombe Museum. Housed in the oldest existing wooden schoolhouse in St. Tammany Parish, the building was constructed in 1912 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Museum exhibits explore 18th, 19th and 20th century life in Lacombe. Some feature the Choctaw and their beloved Father Adrien Rouquette, a Catholic missionary they would come to call “ChahtaIma,” meaning “like a Choctaw.” Others showcase rural life, as well as the primary industries that built the town (lumber, 40 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM
brickmaking, crabbing, boat-building and shipping goods to New Orleans). The little museum’s Hall of Heroes is dedicated to residents who served in the military. The museum is open Thursday-Sunday, so stop by. Beginning in April, every third Sunday at 2 p.m., the Bayou Lacombe Museum is presenting a guest speaker series, “History on the Bayou.” Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and free for children under 12 accompanied by an adult, as well as for school groups. Visit Bayoulacombemuseum.com for hours and guest speaker information.
62883 highway 1089, mandeville otis house museum
Guided tours of this late 19th century lumber baron’s home include memorabilia and photographs from the area. The Queen Anne-style home is on the grounds of FairviewRiverside State Park. 119 fairview drive, madisonville old mandeville historic walking tour
Start at the Mandeville Trailhead, located at 675 Lafitte Street (the old rail depot) and look for the QR (Quick Response) Code. Scan it with your mobile smart device to bring history to life. From there, visit 20 points of interest around Mandeville. cityofmandeville.com. walker percy trail
The noted author and Covington resident moved to the Northshore in 1948. It was here that he wrote his most famous books, including the National Book Awardwinning The Moviegoer. louisiananorthshore.com/ walkerpercy the lang house
Tour the Jean Baptiste Lang House, one of the few “Anglo-Creole” structures still standing in Old Mandeville and hear the history of Mandeville as a resort community for antebellum New Orleans. 605 carroll st., mandeville
PHOTO KEVIN GARRETT
Visit the Slidell Museum
Dating to 1829, the old brick ruins are all that is left of the sugar plantation and mill built by Bernard de Marigny de Mandeville, founder of the town that would take his name. Located on the lovely grounds of Fontainebleau State Park.
The 1837 Tchefuncte River Lighthouse at sunset
PHOTO ANTHONY “CHOPPER” LEONE
Enter to Win
A Northshore Getaway Go to www.LouisianaNorthshore.com/getaway, sign up to receive emails, and you’ll automatically be entered to win a trip for two!
PHOTO KEVIN GARRETT
Two-night stay at the Fontainebleau State Park cabins Sunset kayak paddle with Bayou Adventure Tour with Cajun Encounters Dinner at Hambone in Mandeville Dinner at Oxlot 9 in the Southern Hotel Breakfast at Liz’s Where Y’at Diner Lunch at Palmettos on the Bayou Northshore culinary & brewery basket
Gazing at the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway bridge from the Fontainebleau State Park beach.
go to louisiananorthshore .com/things-to - do/top -ten for more vacation ideas .
A magazine for the St. Tammany Parish Tourist and Convention Commission