Explore the Northshore Visitor Guide Issue 7: Spring-Summer 2021

Page 1


St. Tammany Parish Tourist & Convention Commission Spring/Summer 2021

107 78


Lake Pontchartrain



Royal Carriages gives historic tours of downtown Covington. Photography by Cheryl Gerber


The mules of Royal Carriages, the oldest sightseeing company in the U.S., show visitors their happy place, Covington, with new tours of the historic district.



We revel in Northshore culture, art, music and cuisine through fêtes big and small.

“Olde Towne Slidell is a blast from the past, a small-town gem that channels the Northshore’s version of Mayberry …”






Get to know some of St. Tammany’s charming towns with these day itineraries.

Swamp tours, gators, and giraffes…oh, my!


Glamping, paddling, tubing, biking and fishing await the adventurous.

“The Honey Island Swamp encompasses almost 70,000 acres, more than half of which is preserved...”





Check out a few of the chefs and restaurants we love on the Northshore.


Shop St. Tammany for treasures to take home.

Small museums, historic sites and trails give a perspective on the area’s past. LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM | 1


No Better Place




pring is coming. I can feel it: The Taiwan flowering cherry trees are blooming; the cypress trees are no longer ablaze in burnt orange but beginning to leaf out in a shocking electric chartreuse green; and everyone, I mean everyone, has a pep in their step. By February’s end I am always ready for sunshine and warm, balmy days. And spring of 2021? Bring it on. The promise of brighter days this spring rings true in St. Tammany Parish. If you gaze across Lake Pontchartrain, it seems to stretch endlessly to a robin’s egg blue horizon line. You can barely make out the city of New Orleans and its skyline, which is so close but yet so far away. Sailboats gaily navigate the waters in search of a good time and one of our spectacular sunsets (p. 38). Spring on the Northshore means colorful flowers blooming everywhere you look. There are five species of Louisiana iris (our state flower) in shades of violet at the Northlake Nature Center. Dainty white Silverbell trees cascade along Cane Bayou, and the fuchsia azaleas gracing so many landscapes offer a cheerful homage to spring. The gardens at Big Branch National Wildlife Refuge are a lovely place to behold them in all their glory (p. 38). In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic this past fall, at a Chillin’ on the River concert in Covington (p. 14-15), with socially distanced circles painted on the park’s grounds, a St. Tammany Parish resident called Covington Mayor Mark Johnson over and said, “Mayor, I just wanted to tell you… there is no better place to be in all of the world than right here, right now.” I think all of us on the Northshore would second that. Experiencing the serenity of the Honey Island Swamp (p. 29) and our 80,000 acres of wildlife preserves, enjoying our two waterfront state parks, exploring our nature parks, walking the Mandeville lakefront, riding the Tammany Trace (p. 37) and fishing on the open water (p. 39) were ways we Northshore residents kept our sanity during a very stressful time. St. Tammany Parish Tourist Commission’s media relations folks worked at a


Christina Cooper CONTRIBUTORS

Jyl Benson, Beth D'Addono, Kevin Garrett, Sarah Hill, Roberta Carrow-Jackson, Renée Kientz, Rae Shipley, Anna Strider

frenetic pace because every travel journalist we talked to was looking to feature charming small towns, outdoor adventures and state parks. One of our media guests from California, who was writing about COVID-safe road trips, was beside himself to find that we still had live music on the Northshore. He found music at the Abita Brew Pub, The Anchor, Abita Roasting Company and the Chillin’ at the River concert series. All featured outdoor entertainment, so our musicians still had a place to play safely and our visitors and residents could feed their soul and have their spirits lifted with the magic of music. My family and I spent a great deal of time outdoors together: We glamped (p. 40) and fished at Fontainebleau State Park; we camped and rode horses in nearby Bogue Chitto State Park; we biked the Tammany Trace and walked the Mandeville lakefront. And we traveled. We went to familiar places and spaces we love, destinations where we knew what to expect and what was waiting for us upon arrival. So when you’re ready, we urge you to visit our Louisiana Northshore in St. Tammany Parish, where you can expect Southern hospitality, stunning naturescapes, charming historic districts and a warm welcome. Because right here, right now, there’s no better place to be. Christina Cooper


LouisianaNorthshore.com PRESIDENT AND CEO

Donna O'Daniels St. Tammany Parish Tourist & Convention Commission 68099 Highway 59 Mandeville, LA 70471 (985) 892-0520 www.LouisianaNorthshore.com


Kimberly Ferrante GROUP PUBLISHER


David Halloran ABOUT MIDWEST LUXURY PUBLISHING Midwest Luxury Publishing is a full-service communications outfit made up of experienced industry experts. We are your turnkey provider for all your communications and publishing needs.

CONTACT THE PUBLISHER info@midwestluxurypublishing.com midwestluxurypublishing.com 917.447.7731

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

Follow us on Facebook at ExploreLouisianaNorthshore and on Instagram @lanorthshore



There’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.




Slidell’s All-You-Can-Eat Crawfish Cookoff is traditionally held in April.


The Northshore planner Head to



to explore more


MARCH 27-28


SEPT 25-26

Slidell Antique Street Fair Hunt treasures in Olde Towne

All You Can Eat Crawfish Cook-off Crawfish for a cause in Slidell

St. Tammany Crab Festival Crustacean celebration with music SEPT 28 – OCT 3



Abita Springs Whole Town Garage Sale Score some finds

Madisonville Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration Parade, contests and games, fireworks

APRIL 1-30

SEPT 25-26

A Taste of Covington Vintner dinners, tastings

Wooden Boat Festival Maritime fun in Madisonville

St. Tammany Parish Fair Carnival rides, critters and food ONGOING

Northlake Nature Center Nature and story walks, paddling, yoga and more.

SPRING INTO FUN IN ST. TAMMANY PARISH Spring heralds a great time in St. Tammany Parish, filled with joie de vivre and plenty of events that revel in our culture, music and cuisine. Celebrations big and small take place from one end of the Parish to the other.


My Kingdom For a Mule

One of the best ways to see Covington is with Royal Carriages.

Royal Carriages bring mule-drawn transport tours to downtown Covington BY BETH D’ADDONO




uests enjoying plates of tuna crudo and spaghetti al fruitti di mare outside at Del Porto’s on the corner of Boston and New Hampshire in downtown Covington might think they are seeing things. But yes indeed, that is a mule-drawn carriage passing by, the clip-clop of the mule’s hooves harking back to an earlier age. Royal Carriages, the oldest carriage company in the U.S., kicked off the tour service in November 2020, with three carriages and three mules bringing their 79-year-old New Orleans carriage tour experience across Lake Pontchartrain to the Northshore. Offered Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the guided rides cost $20 per adult and $10 per child, and depart from the Marsolan Feed and Seed Store right next to the area’s Trailhead Museum. Custom private tours and services for weddings and special events are also available. While tours focus on the town’s distinctive history, the guides can customize to each guest’s particular interest, says Talletha Young, a self-described history geek that has worked for Royal for seven years. The Slidell resident created the Covington tour, which is chock full of facts and bits of trivia. But facts and stories wouldn’t do anybody a bit of good without her mule’s participation, says Young. “Praline is my partner,” she explains. “Can you imagine having a co-worker who you treat like family, who you’d do anything in the world for? That’s how we feel about our mules. They are treated better than many people. And Praline doesn’t do anything she doesn’t want to do.” When Royal Carriage mules aren’t working their three day week, they chill at a local farm, living the good life. As she passes by the Covington Southern Hotel, her partner Praline leading the way, its backstory unfolded. The hotel was founded as a

There are a few unexpected high notes to Young’s tour, which sanatorium in 1907 for guests escaping the scourge of yellow fever passes by the Tammany Trace, the Star Theatre and antiques row plaguing New Orleans, Young explains. As for the name of chef Jeffrey Hansell’s award-winning restau- on Lee Lane. Who knew that Covington was home to a 10-feet rant, Oxlot 9, that’s a reference to the oxen “parking lots” that housed high statue of Ronald Reagan, the tallest in the country? Although the beasts of burden back in the day. The oxen hauled goods like President Reagan never stepped foot into town, it seems the owner produce, bricks, lumber and charcoal of Taylor Energy Company, Louisiana sold and bartered by local farmers and tycoon Patrick F. Taylor, was a good friend “Can you imagine having business owners. of the President and wanted to see him a co-worker who you treat Geared to both locals and visitors, in bronze. Young’s tour enlightens even longtime As Young passes by Dependable Glass like family, who you’d do residents with images of Covington past. Works on Gibson Street, she mentions anything in the world for?” that the company supplied all the glass The city was founded in 1813 by John Wharton Collins, a merchant with a shop for the Southern Hotel. But an even more in New Orleans on Magazine Street. Originally reared in New York, illustrious client was Air Force One. Young likes to dig a little deeper into local history than most– Wharton Collins bought the 600 acres that would eventually become one of the tours she designed for rides on the Southshore is called Covington for $2,500. He called it “Wharton” at first, with the name changed three years later to honor a commander in the War of 1812. “Death, Disease & Drugs.” “Every place has its quirks,” she says. Seems that Covington is It’s because of the city’s founder that the streets are named for cities no exception. in the Northeast, his former stomping grounds.

Book your Royal Carriages tour of Covington at NorthshoreCarriages.com


A Quirky DAY IN... Abita Springs


bita was originally inhabited by the Choctaw, who believed in the healing powers of its springs. The tiny town is nestled near the scenic Abita River in a lovely little hamlet among longleaf pines and artesian waters. In 1887, a Covington doctor tested water from the springs and declared it positively medicinal, which led to scores of summer tourists from New Orleans vacationing in Abita Springs at the turn of the century. They arrived by train and stayed in grand hotels and boarding houses to escape the heat and

yellow fever prevalent in New Orleans. Today, Abita Springs has a fun and funky personality like the artists, scholars and painters who have flocked here for its feel-good vibe. Visitors to Abita find themselves breathing fresh air as they take a relaxing ride along the Tammany Trace–and taking a large sip when they sidle up to the bar at the birthplace of Abita Beer. The chic and charming Abita Springs Hotel is right in the heart of town. For more accommodations, visit LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM/HOTELS.

The eccentric and off-color John Preble is just as likely to throw you an insult as a compliment, and his UCM Museum attracts the curious from far and wide. His Abita Mystery House is a wildly wacky collection of found items, tongue-and-cheek displays and outsider art, and Abita has John’s brilliant mind to thank for some of its best events, including the Louisiana Bicycle Festival, the Busker Festival and the Krewe of Push-Mow Mardi Gras Parade.




RIDE A BIKE Rent bikes via mobile device at the Brooks’ Bike Shop rental stand (or bring your own) and ride a section of the 31-mile Tammany Trace to the Abita Brewery, the first and largest craft brewery in Louisiana. The packed-with-personality Abita Springs Trailhead Museum is worth a wander inside if a volunteer is onsite.

ABITA SPRINGS TRAILHEAD PARK WELCOME MORNING Locally roasted coffee, fresh pastries, beignYAYS and a mascot who would be mayor will help you get a fresh start to a memorable morning. ABITA SPRINGS CAFÉ

A visit to this cozy café offering breakfast, lunch and dinner wouldn’t be complete without paying homage to Omelet the chicken–she’s one of the pasture-raised chickens who produce eggs for the Abita Springs Café. Omelet is so popular that she was declared Mayor-For-A-Day of Abita Springs by Mayor Dan Curtis. Be sure to grab a cup of coffee, produced locally by the Abita Roasting Company. 22132 LEVEL STREET (985) 400-5025

Stroll around and admire the Abita Springs Pavilion, on the National Register of Historic Places and built in 1888. Back then, there were four drinking fountains under the pavilion, enabling tourists access to the artesian springs. Today, a bronze statue of the Choctaw Princess Abita tells the legend of her recovery thanks to the healing waters. There’s a cheerful playground and a path leading to a bridge over the Abita River.

GOURMET (BUT NOT FANCY) FARE There are several spots a stone’s throw away where you can dine-in or pick-up a picnic and soak up the sunshine. ABITA BREW PUB

Killer burgers, live music on weekends, growlers and outdoor games in the birthplace of Abita Beer. 72011 HOLLY STREET (985) 892-5837 MAMA D’S PIZZA

Hand tossed artisan pizzas and pastas.



This mobile café serves coffee, smoothies, cream sodas and tea. MAPLE STREET BAKERY

Muffins, cinnamon rolls, pastries. 72066 MAPLE STREET (985) 327-5554


Satisfying hot plate specials and two words: Thunder Cheese. 22069 LA-59 (985) 892-7300 LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM | 9

AMaritime DAYMadisonville IN...


he Tchefuncte River runs through the picturesque Town of Madisonville’s waterfront community, where maritime heritage is celebrated year-round on the water, at the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum, and reveled in annually at the Wooden Boat Festival, the largest congregation of wooden boats on the Gulf Coast. Numerous marinas stretch into the river, and several restaurants grace the riverfront, ideal places to while away the afternoon and watch the watercraft cruising by. Fairview-

Riverside State Park is located in Madisonville on the Tchefuncte River, with opportunities for launching your own boat, exploring the historic Otis House Museum, camping, wildlife spotting, birding and fishing. The scenic Tchefuncte River system empties into Lake Pontchartrain, where the historic Tchefuncte River Lighthouse, built in 1837, stands sentinel and symbolizes the town. The best place to view the lighthouse (not open for tours) is by boat, but it can also be sighted by driving south on Main Street from Hwy. 22.

START THE DAY WITH SUNSHINE Grab a seat outdside at a café table and watch the world go by. Madisonville may be small, but it’s big on charm. ABITA ROASTING CO.

Cajun Praline Chicken & Waffles and Black and Tan Coffee PHOTO BOBBY TALLEY; JIM TWARDOWSKI


Pain au Chocolate 101 MORGAN STREET (985) 206-5316




TCHEFUNCTE RIVER CRUISE Captain Mike Jones is the charming, sun-kissed host of Louisiana Tours & Adventures, and he’s eager to introduce guests to the waterways he grew up on. His private pontoon tours with a tailor-made itinerary offer 3-and 5-hour cruises of the scenic Tchefuncte River. Experience Madisonville like a local and motor by the stately mansions on the river, spot alligators, bald eagles, great blue herons, and venture out into Lake Pontchartrain to admire the Tchefuncte River Lighthouse, especially beautiful at sunset. Captain Mike knows all the great spots to stop, like T-Rivers Bar and Grill, a local’s hangout with live music on the weekends and a killer waterfront view. Bring your own spread for noshing during the cruise (he’s got an ice chest for you), or have Captain Mike moor up for a meal at one of Madisonville’s waterfront restaurants. If you want to swim or sunbathe, wear a suit and bring a towel. Cooling off with a splash is fun for kids of all ages. Call (985) 789-9602 to book.

Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum

LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN BASIN MARITIME MUSEUM It’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. Located on the site of the former Jahncke Shipyard, the LPBMM tells the story of the Northshore’s seaport roots through well-done exhibits, artifacts (have you ever climbed inside a Civil War submarine?), detailed dioramas, video and replicas of everything from bateaux to pirogues.

ELEGANT EVENING MIDDAY MEAL Louisiana seafood is a specialty on each of these menus.

Live a little, you’re in Louisiana and the food is fabulous. Don your best dress and pamper yourself with a night out on the town. We see a craft cocktail or an excellent vintage in your future.


Louisiana Fish & Chips



Seafood Cannelloni, Redfish Marcello,

(985) 323-4800

Limoncello Cake


(985) 845-4445

240 LA-22


Soft Shell Crab Seafood Boat


Seared Sea Scallops, House Cut Filet with Potato au Gratin, Bread Pudding 165 LA-21 (985) 845-9940


Stuffed Flounder Platter 304 HWY. 22 WEST


Turtle Soup, Roasted Gulf Grouper, Warm Sticky Praline Cake 702 WATER STREET (985) 845-4970


A DAY IN... Splendid Slidell O

lde Towne Slidell is a blast from the past, a small-town gem that channels the Northshore’s version of Mayberry, where TV sheriff Andy doled out homespun wisdom like bags of penny candy. Here in Olde Towne, a 10-square-block district of historic buildings, specialty shops, restaurants and museums just steps from Bayou Bonfouca makes it possible to stroll and soak in the kind of Main Street hospitality that does a body good. — Beth D’Addono.

But there’s more to Slidell than Olde Towne; there are charter fishing trips that depart from the Rigolets Marina, flat-bottomed tours of the pristine Honey Island Swamp ecosystem and up close encounters with alligators in the wild (see related story p. 29), as well as glorious spots for nature walks and seafood straight off of the boat. More than 20 hotels are located in the Slidell area, so you’re sure to find comfortable and convenient accommodations at LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM/HOTELS.


Beignets and Café au Lait 1071 ROBERT BLVD. (985) 643-4949 CREOLE BAGELRY

Cochon Benedict 1337 GAUSE BLVD., STE. 102 (985) 649-6151 LA PINES CAFÉ

Soft Shell Crab Benedict 1061 ROBERT BLVD. (985) 641-6196 S&H GOOD EATS CAFÉ

Scrambled Mess


French Quarter Toast 1960 FIRST STREET (985) 641-3500 12 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM


1830 HWY. 190 WEST (985) 726-4900

CATCH SOME FISH AND A GOOD TIME A baker’s dozen of charter fishing guides depart from the Slidell area at dawn, since there’s great access to fishing hot spots like Lake Borgne, Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Catherine, the Rigolets Pass and the Biloxi Marsh. Expert guides know where to catch trophy trout, record redfish, fat flounder, sheepshead, black drum and more. Guides will provide gear and bait, and they’ll clean your fish for you, too. FISHTHENORTHSHORE.COM

Lori’s Art Depot


Thin Fried Catfish

Take some time to meander around Olde Towne. Admire the rows of natural herbs and essential oils from Green Oaks Apothecary. Get your fashion on at Stella and Grace and Oh La Love for your mini-me. Search a smattering of antiques shops including Antiques & Art and Vintage Antiques. Peruse art at the City of Slidell Cultural Center and make your own at Lori’s Art Depot. Experience Slidell’s history through the Slidell Museum.



Oyster Bordelaise Pasta


2267 CAREY STREET (985) 641-1911

Prosciutto wrapped Scallops, Shrimp and Oyster Rustica, Bananas Foster Bread Pudding



Lengua Tacos

(985) 288-5440

2142 FIRST STREET (985) 641-4969



Fried Bowtie Pasta with Lump Crab Dip, Tuna Zachary, Key Lime Pie


Fried Chicken Plate

1194 HARBOR DRIVE (985) 641-0464

3991 PONTCHARTRAIN DRIVE (985) 326-8189



Coconut Shrimp, Trout Amandine, and Sweet Potato Hash

Peacemaker Poboy



(985) 643-0443



Seafood Platter 400 PONTCHARTRAIN DRIVE (985) 643-2717

Boudin Eggroll, Catch Pontchartrain, Creole Bread Pudding 1901 BAYOU LANE (985) 643-0050 LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM | 13

A Charming DAY Covington IN...


n the National Register of Historic Places, the quaint and welcoming Division of St. John in Covington is thoughtfully laid out in a grid pattern, with free parking areas called Ox Lots centrally located throughout the town. This hearkens back to days when schooners came down the Bogue Falaya River to trade goods from Covington and surrounding Northshore areas with New Orleans. Traders brought their wares and parked their oxen in the squares.

There are shops, galleries, little museums, nightspots and more than 25 restaurants in this walkable district, many of which are located in historic cottages. The town is nestled at the convergence of three scenic rivers, the Bogue Falaya, the Abita and the Tchefuncte. The elegantly restored boutique Southern Hotel has been welcoming guests since 1907, and the Blue Willow B&B and Camellia House B&B offer visitors comfortable accommodations in the walking district. For a complete list, visit LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM/HOTELS.

THIS IS A GOOD MORNING Begin your day sunny side up in Covington at any number of delightful breakfast spots, where you’ll find heavenly benedicts, crêpes, creamy grits, artisan roasts, beignets and more. ABITA ROASTING CO. Buttermilk Beignets and Princess Abita Coffee


Windsor High Tea (985) 898-3988 MATTINA BELLA

Blue Crab Benedict 421 E. GIBSON STREET (985) 892-0708 14 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM



STROLL THE SHOPS Grab your girlfriend and shop the boutiques, antiques and art galleries along Lee Lane, E. Rutland and Columbia Street. This little stretch is home to a variety of shops in cuteas-can-be cottages and offering all kinds of shopping temptations. There’s custom jewelry, boutique clothing and vintage finds. Don’t miss H.J. Smith and Sons.

Canoeing the Bogue Falaya with Canoe and Trail Adventures

GET OUTSIDE BE ARTSY Check out Covington’s art community around downtown and then create your own masterpiece at a Hammer & Stain workshop. Be sure to pick your project and make a reservation online at HAMMERANDSTAINCOVINGTON.COM for a workshop 72 hours in advance. You’re welcome to bring your own wine or beer to sip while you work. Or, order a take-home art kit. 1027 VILLAGE WALK, (504) 645-1794

LINGER FOR LUNCH Captivating cafes beckon for a respite after some serious shopping. Enjoy cheerful eateries with healthy options for a light lunch. LOLA PHOTO BOBBY TALLEY; RANDY P. SCHMIDT; KEVIN GARRETT

Chicken Salad Vegas 517 N. NEW HAMPSHIRE STREET (985) 892-4992 COFFEE RANI

Cobb Club Salad

Rent bikes, paddleboards or kayaks at Brooks Bike Shop, and pedal around downtown or along the 31-mile Tammany Trace (see related story p. 37) or launch from the paddler’s launch at Bogue Falaya Park. Canoe and Trail Adventures offers canoe and kayak rentals from The Chimes restaurant. The Bogue Falaya’s scenic waterway offers many sandy banks to pull up and splash around on, and clear water to spot schooling fish.

DECADENT DINNERS Enjoy an evening out worth remembering, with elegant surroundings, craft cocktails and impeccable service from some of Covington’s charismatic chef/owners. DEL PORTO RISTORANTE CHEFS DAVID AND TORRE SOLAZZO

Seasonal Fresh Fruit Martini, Yellowfin Tuna Crudo, Tagliatelle, Tiramisu 501 E. BOSTON STREET (985) 875-1006 MERIBO CHEF GAVIN JOBE

Bee Sting Mule, Whipped Ricotta, Meridionale Pizza, Chocolate Chip Cookies 326 LEE LANE (985) 302-5533

234 LEE LANE (985) 893-6158



Caipirinha, Fried Frog Legs, Stuffed Rabbit, Campfire Dessert

Vegetable Curry


207 N. NEW HAMPSHIRE STREET (985) 893-8711



AMandeville DAYbyIN... the Lake


ernard de Marigny de Mandeville founded the town of Mandeville in 1834 as a resort community for wealthy New Orleanians, a place of respite from the city in the summers. History still hangs in the air along the lakefront community, where ancient oaks dripping with Spanish moss and historic homes line glittering Lake Pontchartrain. Marigny designated public green space between the street and the lake, and at any time of day, you’ll find residents and visitors luxuriating in a leisurely seawall stroll, bike ride or jog with a view. There are

numerous bed and breakfasts in Old Mandeville located a short walk from the lake, including Blue Heron, de la Bleau, About Trace, MarVilla, Pontchartrain Winds and Cressy House. A bike ride east of the Mandeville Trailhead via the 31-mile Tammany Trace hike-and-bike path, you’ll find Fontainebleau State Park, Bernard de Marigny de Mandeville’s former sugar plantation and historic site. For a complete listing of accommodations, visit LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM/HOTELS.

RISE AND SHINE Sure as the sun rises over Lake Pontchartrain, breakfast spots beckon to start your day off right with a strong cup of coffee and a smile. LIZ’S WHERE Y’AT DINER

Banana Foster Waffles


Soft Shell Crab Benedict 200 GIROD STREET (985) 231-7125 CRAZY PIG SOUTHERN KITCHEN

Booya Biscuit 4700 LA-22 STE. 1 (985) 792-7900 16 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM


2500 FLORIDA STREET (985) 626-8477

RIDE A BRIKE Cruise around Old Mandeville with ease with a bike rental from Brooks’ Bike Co-op. There are plenty of shopping ops—you’ll find ladies clothing, antiques, art and gifts galore in the quaint shops all along Girod Street. Score designer finds for a song from Gran’s Attic Thrift Shoppe, boutique clothing from Cameo, unique gifts and art at Wild Osprey Gallery, antiques from Mae’s and Tallulah’s Vintage Market; and lovely Louisiana gifts from Das Schulerhaus: A Christmas & Gift Gallery.



Brewpub has outdoor seating right on the Tammany Trace, as well as Crawfish YAYA Pasta, Alligator Tempura and Chicken Andouille Gumbo. 639 GIROD STREET (985) 612-1828 THE LAKEHOUSE

Indoor/outdoor dining, spectacular sunsets from the elegant former summer home of Bernard de Marigny. 2025 LAKESHORE DRIVE (985) 626-3006 PAT’S REST AWHILE PHOTOS BOBBY TALLEY; ERIC LINDBERG; KEVIN GARRETT (2)

Renowned Chef Pat Gallagher’s much-anticipated new restaurant is casual with plenty of indoor/outdoor seating and a raw bar.

For a glimpse into 19th century Mandeville, tour the lovingly restored Jean Baptiste Lang Creole House and Museum, one of the few “Anglo-Creole” structures still standing in Old Mandeville. Immerse yourself in Mandeville’s resort history and see unique architectural elements such as a subterranean cave (believed to be used for storing wine), mortise and tenon construction and faux bois. Also, pick up a map here to begin the Mandeville Historic Walking tour. Just scan the QR code and go!

SIT A SPELL Rest up and get your second wind with a sweet treat, cup of joe, snack or an ice cold beer. THE BOOK & THE BEAN COFFEE SHOP

Flamjeaux Coffee and Pastries 235 GIROD STREET UNIT A (985) 237-3655 RIEGER’S ON THE TRACE

Ice cold Abita Beer and Creole Creamery ice cream 2020 WOODROW STREET (985) 778-2288 CANDY BANK

Cappuccino, ice cream sodas and house-made fudge

(985) 951-2173

201 CARROLL STREET (985) 778-2750



Chef Luke Hidalgo takes an upscale approach to Gulf South comfort foods, in the middle of Girod St. shopping.



2101 LAKESHORE DRIVE (985) 727-7420


(985) 778-0531

Soft-baked pretzel basket, Gator Sausage and Chafunkta Brews on tap



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 a mom-and-pop or Gulfinspired fare from talented chefs, there’s a great meal waiting for you. 18 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM

Pyre Provisions Brisket Rice Bowl

Daiquiris To Go or Not ot To Go DAIQUIRIS ARE SYNONYMOUS NONYMOUS with a good

You'll Eat Our Words Confused by some of the items on the menu? Here’s a Louisiana lexicon to interpret for you


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 and speak like us. 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:

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. POBOY: A long sandwich on crusty French

bread, a poboy really isn’t the same as a sub marine 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.


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 boudin balls. (Pron. Boo-DAN)

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)



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 and sausage. Served

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 til almost creamy, then served with white rice.

time in Louisiana. They’re the perfect accessory to pool parties, crawfish boils, festivals, parades and street fairs. It helps that in Louisiana, you can get a drive-thru daiquiri on your way to the festivities. Yeah, you heard dat right. Place your order at the window and drive right on through — as long as you don’t open your straw, you won’t be cited for an open container violation. Making daiquiris on the Northshore is an art form. There are almost as many flavors as snowballs at some of the bigger daiquiri shops, especially the kind with the drivethrough windows, and it’s a badge of honor for a great restaurant to also offer artisan daiquiris around here. But be sure to beware of the double shot. DRIVE-THRU DAIQUIRIS AND CREAMS 1737 FLORIDA STREET, MANDEVILLE 339 N. HWY 190, COVINGTON 2060 GAUSE BLVD. E., SLIDELL MANDEVILLE DAIQUIRIS 1819 N. CAUSEWAY BLVD., MANDEVILLE NEW ORLEANS ORIGINAL DAIQUIRIS 2700 N. HWY 190, COVINGTON DAIQUIRIS NOW 1761 GAUZE BLVD., SLIDELL DINE IN ARTISAN DAIQUIRIS PYRE PROVISIONS 70437 LA-21, COVINGTON LIZ’S WHERE Y’AT BACK PORCH 2500 FLORIDA STREET, MANDEVILLE




Sample Liquid Louisiana Northshore breweries give you something to cheers about 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

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 20 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM

Abita Brewery



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 125,000 barrels of Abita beer a year. Along the way, it’s also become one of the Northshore’s most popular tourist attractions. Abita beer is now 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 brewmaster 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 turning out beer with names like Old 504 porter and Voo Kay Ra IPA. 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.

FIVE SPOTS ... for farmers markets


Sundays Noon–4 p.m. Artisans, vegetables, wild caught seafood


Saturdays 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Arts and crafts, prepared foodstuffs, fresh produce


Sundays 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Hot and ready-to-eat foods, chocolates, and baked goods, original art MADISONVILLE BALL PARK & PLAYGROUND ON PINE STREET, MADISONVILLE CAMELLIA CITY MARKET

Saturdays 8 a.m.–12 p.m. Prepared foods, tons of fresh produce, live music 333 ERLANGER STREET, SLIDELL



Mondays 10 a.m.–12 p.m. Vendors vary, and bring veggies, mushrooms, breads, jam and plants 82292 LA-25, FOLSOM

Keepin’ it fresh and friendly Flavors and influences of Louisiana meld in harmony at Covington’s popular nibble-as-you-go Farmers Market


repare to yield to temptation. It’s okay. Really. The Covington Farmers Market occurs each Saturday morning and is a panoply of pleasures, from beautiful locally grown produce like sweet satsumas, Creole tomatoes and heirloom figs, to artisan breads and other Louisiana specialties like stuffed artichokes and Delta tamales. Meet Nick Usner, an organic farmer who supplies gorgeous produce like perfect little squashes, hand-foraged chanterelle mushrooms and just-picked okra. Linger over the table at Bear Creek Road where stunning baked goods challenge your willpower. There are raw foods, fresh collards, Kombuchas, yard eggs, jams and jellies, aromatic spices, goat’s

milk cheese and caramel, herbs and seasonal items like strawberries. Don’t eat before you go. You can nosh your way through the cultures that shaped old Louisiana and new. Try Greek skordalia, Italian cuccidati, Salvadoran pupusas and Middle Eastern falafel (hot from the fryer) while listening to live music floating from the gazebo. Check out Mauthe’s creole cream cheese, an almost lost food that earned the Slow Food Movement’s first “Ark of Taste” award. The market is held from 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays. Get there early for the best selection of fresh-picked produce. 609 N.


A smaller market is held Wednesdays at the Covington Trailhead.


Tammany Taste The Northshore’s deep and diverse restaurant scene feeds your hunger for authentic culinary experiences


This cheerful eatery across from the Mandeville Trailhead serves breakfast and lunch, and is getting a lot of buzz for its fun menu with vegan options. Try the Abita beer-battered cauliflower, a “PBLT” burger (Plant Burger Lettuce Tomato), blackened fish sandwich, or a “banh mi-style” po-boy. Kid-and-pup friendly, with indoor and outdoor seating, it’s the perfect pit stop on the Tammany Trace to cool off with a Creole Creamery ice cream or Abita beer.



Chef Jeffrey Hansell’s lovely dining space in downtown Covington’s Southern Hotel is a great showcase for the Gulf-inspired contemporary Southern food. Favorites include killer fried frog legs in hot sauce butter, royal red ceviché and pan-fried stuffed rabbit. Hansell’s creativity and his deft touch with seafood and with meat make his ever-changing menu a culinary adventure. 22 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM


The restaurant’s name is taken from the Creole word meaning “at the home of,” and Chef Jeremy Reilly’s food definitely offers comfort made from scratch. Fried green tomatoes, shrimp and oyster rustica, the Cote burger and blackened shrimp are made with ingredients that originate from within 60 miles of the restaurant (and many vegetables are grown in the garden out back).


Award-winning Chef Michael Gottlieb is making waves in Madisonville with his dual-concept restaurant on the Tchefuncte River. The Anchor and Tchefuncte’s are casual and upscale, respectively, but they have some things in common: an elevated menu, impeccable service and a waterfront view. The Anchor’s menu is rooted in classic Louisiana cooking and presented with a twist; examples include fried shrimp and oyster po-boys on a grilled steamed bun with brown butter, crawfish spiced hot chicken wings and Louisiana fish and chips with a Meunière sauce. Tchefuncte’s offerings include prime and dry aged meats featuring a generous selection of sauces, Chilean sea bass with roasted bok choy, roasted Gulf grouper, jumbo lump crab cake in jalapeño honey and BBQ shrimp and Louisiana sweet potato ravioli gratin. Dinner feels decadent, elegantly served with sweeping views of the river in luxe dining rooms or in the expo kitchen.


Talented husband-wife chef team Keith and Nealy Frentz make magic in a caboose kitchen attached to Covington’s old train depot. The pair met when both were chefs at worldfamous Brennan’s in New Orleans. Housemade everything pleases LOLA’s lunch crowds with blue plate specials, great salads and desserts. Dinner is more upscale but fresh, smart and creative–and especially fun in LOLA’s darling vintage dining car. 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. GALLAGHER’S



Chef Sal Impastato’s Lacombe institution is where Italy meets Louisiana. There’s pasta, veal cannelloni and lasagna, and even Bruciolini and Cappelletti (pasta stuffed with chicken and mortadella). But also trout Meuniere and crabmeat au gratin.


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 seaweed salad, wasabi aioli and Tamari sauce. Fresh Louisiana seafood fished from nearby waters is impeccably presented in the form of Gulf fish Meunière, fried shrimp tacos or seafood gnocchi.

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.



Chef Joey Najolia’s French and Creole cuisine has been satisfying his loyal Northshore following since he and his wife, Brandi, opened their restaurant in 2007. Savor classic French dishes cooked to a consistent perfection in a casual yet refined setting–escargot au garlic, filet au poivre and crispy duck confit.


Chef Luke Hidalgo takes an upscale approach to Gulf Coast comfort foods, taking them to new heights. Think fried boudin with crab boil mozzarella, decadent charbroiled oysters, a rockin’ gumbo—all served in a cute-as-can-be cottage.


Veteran Chef Jeff Mattia’s woodfire restaurant brings the heat. Southern-inspired fare with global influences makes the menu pop at Pyre Provisions. Pass around shareable portions of crispy Brussels sprouts, artisanal cheese grits, USDA prime smoked brisket and pulled pork shoulder, key to Mattia’s family-style concept. LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM | 23

Fresh Food and Fresh Air

Chef Thomas “LoLo” LoPresti and Christine Clouatre of The Shack. Fried fish taco with guacamole and jalapeño apple slaw from The Shack in Covington (inset)

Casual outdoor dining amplifies the atmosphere for every type of fare on the Northshore



The secret is the ShackYard, a welcoming, fenced-in, open-air patio for al fresco dining. With its tin roof, brightly painted picnic tables, and twinkling lights, it looks like it’s been transplanted from the islands. Live music and inventive cocktails keep the convivial atmosphere going, and outdoor play is encouraged for the littlest patrons. With Latin and Caribbean influences, the menu is inventive, beautifully presented and bursting with fresh flavors to satisfy the most discerning palates, despite its casual setting. Can’t miss dishes include marinated skirt steak and lump crabmeat guacamole.

A raw oyster bar, alligator, seafood gumbo, red beans and rice, po’boys and more can be found at this lively spot serving Louisiana specialties. Sweeping decks and boardwalks meander around massive cypress trees down to the Bogue Falaya River. Kids love to spot the resident goats, and big fish swimming in the clear water below.


You know you’re in for a good time when you see the large crawfish statue waving a claw from the street. It belies the wide array of Louisiana regional specialties served on the patio and upstairs balcony at NOLA Southern Grill. Find chargrilled oysters, gator bites, zydeco shrimp, Gulf shrimp and grits, shrimp étouffée, soft shell crab and red beans and rice on the menu, and much more. THE ANCHOR 407 SAINT TAMMANY STREET, MADISONVILLE

The Anchor’s open-air, family-friendly restaurant overlooking the Tchefuncte River invites come-as-you-are attire, features a playground for the kids and boats of all sizes are welcome to dock on the on-premise slips. Chef Michael Gottleib highlights Gulf seafood, short ribs, burgers and offers them in an upscale presentation. 24 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM


The new Slidell location of Middendorf’s is grand and whimsically outfitted. Known for their thin fried catfish and outstanding seafood, Middendorf’s has a wrap-around dining porch overlooking an expansive sandy beach, fenced and ideal for playing among tiki huts, palm trees and fountains. ABITA BREW PUB 72011 HOLLY STREET, ABITA SPRINGS

The original home of Abita beer, the Brew Pub serves Abita seasonal and flagship beers and has growlers to go. The Brew Pub’s happening patio with outdoor checkers, Giant Jenga, corn hole, horseshoes and more is located adjacent to the Tammany Trace and charming Abita Springs Trailhead Plaza. Also known for Andygator crab cakes, catfish étouffée, killer burgers and gyros, and Brewer’s BBQ crab claws.



here’s no better time than now for al fresco dining (translation: eating outside), especially in the communities in St. Tammany Parish. You know those special dining experiences—where Mother Nature’s beauty, temperate climates and memorable meals electrify you in the moment. Find your happy place—and happy meal—at any number of these outdoor dining spots.

Possibly Louisiana’s biggest boil, Slidell’s All You Can Eat Crawfish Cook-off benefits Hospice Foundation of the South.

FIVE SPOTS ... for crawfish


Famous for hot boiled seafood in season. Look for the flashing sign. 702 WATER STREET, MADISONVILLE 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.


Locals love this spot known for boiled seafood.



Legendary selection of seafood at this buffet-style restaurant off the beaten path. 81790 LA-21 , BUSH

Pinch da Tail Savor the spice of life during crawfish season in St. Tammany Parish


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

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. LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM | 25

Slidell’s Sweet Spot To truly imbibe the essence of a town, you need to taste it BY BETH D’ADDONO


owntown Slidell’s homespun charm doesn’t get any sweeter than a visit to the Old Town Slidell Soda Shop, a fixture at 301 Cousin Street since 1988. And with new owners Joshua Roques and Angela Morant Roques taking over for Frank and Carla Jackson, who are happily retired, the shop is keeping all of its timeless appeal and adding some new features to maintain the allure for kids of all ages. The Roques are a team–Joshua retired early from AT&T to take care of the building, including restoring the outside garden and fountain for seating. He also handles making the ice cream, all 28 homemade flavors. Angela, an entrepreneur with multiple businesses, was “Queen of Pops” as one of her jobs, creating cake pops and laying out sweets for kids’ birthdays parties: “Before cake pops were a thing!” she says. Her homemade line of Oreos, cake pops and cocoa bombs are now available exclusively at the shop. When the couple and their business partners, Gilbert and Sonia Valencia, heard the shop

was for sale, they jumped at the opportunity. “We all have kids, and this is a great destination for families. We hope to expand and add more play options in the near future.” The aim wasn’t to change the shop, just clean, paint and refresh the space, including the upstairs party room which can handle groups up to 45. With its line of vintage Schylling toys, 200 of Frank Jackson’s collection of antique ice cream scoops and familiar brands of penny candy setting the scene, the Old Town Slidell Soda Shop brings life’s simpler pleasures sharply into focus.

Quick Bites Poppy Tooker’s Tammany Taste Interviews


oppy Tooker, a native New Orleanian, lights up a room with her beatific smile. You know you’re in the presence of greatness by the way she instantly infuses a room with positive energy and commands attention. The vivacious, quick-witted and larger-than-life author, radio and television host (and Louisiana cultural ambassador) has made it her mission to preserve our culinary culture and history and share it with the world. “It has been my lifelong dream to bring my great-grandmother’s favorite saying to life: ‘Poppy, eat it to save it!’” Poppy’s award-winning, NPR-affiliated radio show and podcast, Louisiana Eats! features Tammany Taste: Quick Bites. Get to know some of the Northshore’s dynamic chefs, bakers, brewers and ice cream makers that comprise the Northshore’s deep and delicious culinary scene through Poppy’s engaging mini-interviews. Go to LOUISIANANORTHSHORE . COM / POPPY and have a listen.

We All Scream for Hoodoo Ice Cream EVERY MORNING, JAMIE MAUTHE AND HER DAUGHTERS, Sarah and Katie, milk 14 Jersey

and Holstein cows in Progress, Mississippi. That milk is what powers the pow 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 like local berries, satsuma and blood orange. Or 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 STREET, COVINGTON 26 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM



Seafood Fit For A King

Red Snapper sofrito (above); Grilled Adobo Chicken Tostada, Avocado, Charred Tomato, Queso Fresco and Lime Aioli (below)

Robert Vasquez gives diners a royal experience at Pepe’s Sonoran Cuisine BY BETH D’ADDONO



t’s good to be king. Just ask chef Robert Vasquez, who was crowned King of Louisiana Seafood, a reign of finny goodness that extends until November 2021. Chef Vasquez beat out nine other Louisiana chefs for the award bestowed by the Louisiana Seafood Marketing and Promotion Board during the 2020 Louisiana Seafood Cook-off. Vasquez earned the crown with his disarmingly simple red snapper with crawfish sofrito. “I’m a purist,” says the executive chef at Pepe’s Sonoran Cuisine in Covington. “There’s going to be a star ingredient in the dish, and there’s also a supporting cast. I’m always looking for more flavor, less complexity.” It’s a creed he subscribes to at Pepe’s, which is part of the three-restaurant group owned by Osman Rodas. Experience in kitchens in Spain, Mexico, Bermuda, Singapore and Louisiana informs the menu at Pepe’s, a fresh, innovative take on Mexican and American Southwest cuisine. Vasquez, 57, has been in hospitality for decades. Now, he’s heading the kitchen for another restaurateur. Chef Vasquez’s role as corporate chef for the group means you can also find him and his crown-winning red snapper sofrito at Forks and Corks, where he’s recently been hard at work revitalizing the menu. “We have an 8 year old, and this job lets me fulfill my responsibility in life as a father, but also gives me time to create.” Creativity informs the menu at Pepe’s, which is far from typical. Guests can enjoy dishes like braised duck and cheddar taquitos or a grilled pork belly tamale with chorizo and avocado topped with a fried egg.

Fresh fish and seafood, along with seasonal vegetables and herbs, are the stars of street style tacos, sopes, enchiladas, churros and more, with plenty of vegetarian options. There is a fine pairing of crab and cactus over fries and the lobster and queso quesadilla board goes well with a housemade fresh margarita. Tacos come dressed with chorizo and manchego, al pastor and grilled pineapple, fried shrimp and beef picadillo. Entrees, which are served with house rice and pinto beans, include queso or chicken adobo enchiladas and lime cilantro chicken relleno. Then there’s the dish fit for a king, the seared red snapper dish that earned Vasquez the Louisiana seafood crown. “That’s always going to be on the menu,” says the chef. 321 N. COLUMBIA STREET, COVINGTON (985) 400-5559




Hold a baby gator, tour a mystery house, visit the pristine Honey Island Swamp or bike the Tammany Trace. There’s a lot to discover.

Swamp Tour

Honey Island Swamp Ecosystem Tour boats offer encounters with nature’s beauty


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. Watching warily from muddy banks, cruising by your tour boat with curiosity. There are several tour companies, like Dr. Wagner’s and Cajun Encounters, which 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 for the Honey Island Swamp Monster, a Bigfoot-like creature some say has called the marsh home for centuries. Go to LouisianaNorthshore.com/swamp for tours and operators.


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.

• Diet consists mostly of fish, turtles, small mammals and birds, though alligators have been known to attack dogs, deer and on rare occasions, humans. • 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.


Gators Galore Hold ‘em, hatch ‘em, feed ‘em (and learn a little something, too)


t’s not a visit to Louisiana without an alligator interaction, right? We’ve got just the place for you. Insta-Gator Ranch and Hatchery in 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 hold one. Kids (and their parents, too) love to visit the touch pool, where smaller alligators swim in crystal clear water and you can scoop them up as they glide by for a fantastic photo-op. Visitors hear all about the harvesting of gator eggs, often from area waterways like Bayou Castine, and watch a video before visiting huge alligators in tanks in their covered barns. Guides explain the

industry that actually helps preserve the species in the wild. There’s a gift shop at Insta-gator, too, where they like to say you’ll learn everything about the American alligator from “hatchling to handbag.” INSTA-GATORRANCH.COM


• 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.


Abita Mystery House Where “everyone is welcome, even your family”


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 five 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 welcom-

ing 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. New in 2020: The Shed of Miracles. 22275 HIGHWAY 36, ABITA SPRINGS LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM | 31

Meet the animals up close and personal at the Global Wildlife Center.

Eye to Eye with Giraffes


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 32 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM

animal lovers who want a unique and once-in-a-lifetime encounter. Seating up to eight 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


Go on safari at Global Wildlife Center in Folsom

Lori Gomez with Thank You Healthcare Workers mural

Art For Artists and Community New Olde Towne murals spread Slidell love in technicolor


hen the pandemic public health emergency closed down events and festivals last spring, Slidell’s arts and culture calendar went dark overnight. The Spring Bayou Jam concert series, movie nights, art exhibits–all on hold for who knew how long. “We were worried about our artists,” says Alex Carollo, Slidell’s director of cultural and public affairs. “This was prime festival season, a time when artists make their livelihood.” So in true New Orleans Saints audible-style, Carollo and his team took the budget for the shuttered events, added in some grant money and local sponsorship and employed six local artists to literally brighten the landscape, lifting everybody’s spirits along the way. The plan was to commission seven different murals at a cost of about $3,000 each, scenes that celebrated Slidell’s natural beauty and rich arts culture and paid tribute to the first responders and healthcare heroes whose dedicated service was especially critical during the pandemic. Working with the project’s curatorial consultant, Liv Butera, whose experience included managing Prospect New Orleans on the Southshore, four of the seven murals were completed by the end of 2020, with the other three either in process or ready to start. “We should be wrapped up by spring,” Carollo says. Artist Lori Gomez, whose backyard fence murals have become an online sensation, painted two sunny scenes of flowers and butterflies, one covering wooden fencing behind the Slidell Train Depot, the other a blooming garden with birds and butterflies thanking health care heroes at the Slidell Fitness Park next to the hospital.


Two murals honor the region’s rich cultural and natural bounty. Keith Dellsperger will transform the side of KY’s Olde Towne Bicycle Shop with a scene celebrating music. Phil Galatas completed a striking back porch view of the bayou and its wildlife, painted in the lobby of the much-visited Slidell Technology and Cultural Arts Center. Galatas is well known for bringing nature to life in wood and on canvas, skills that have marked the artist’s more than 30-year career. Nancy Pratt paid homage to the six fire districts across the Parish with the outline of a firefighter in full gear against the backdrop of a striking American flag, installed on the side of St. Tammany Fire Protection District No. 1 headquarters. When Mary Christopher finishes her piece come spring, visitors to the Slidell police department will be greeted by “Celebrate Slidell Police and First Responders,” which is currently in the planning stages. On the city’s website, MYSLIDELL.COM, visitors and locals can find an interactive Google map marking the murals’ locations, all within walking distance of downtown. The new murals join eight existing pieces of public art created between 2008 and 2011, with some of the same artists representing the history and beauty of cultural life in Slidell and Southeast Louisiana. Concentrated in the compact Olde Towne area, the murals offer art lovers a reason to stroll, with plenty of options for nibbles and cocktails along the way.




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. 34 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM

See the video at LouisianaNorthshore.com/crabbing

Getting Crabby Throw a line from Lake Road in Lacombe and see what you catch


he Northshore is known for its cantankerous crustacean, the Lake Pontchartrain Blue Crab. There’s even a festival dedicated to it in the fall. Spring and summer are great times to catch a dozen or so for a crab boil, and Lake Road in Lacombe is a hot spot known as the place to go for crabbing. It’s super scenic, too, a gravel road that stretches out through coastal marsh and ends with glorious Lake Pontchartrain. You can even see the buildings of New Orleans across the lake on a clear day. Stop at Bayou Adventure outfitters first to pick up a license and all the gear you need, located at 28178 U.S. Hwy 190, Lacombe. Ask for the crabbing package. Owners Shannon and Jeff Bordelon will greet you with a smile, some advice, and hook you up with a string line, a turkey neck (you’ve never seen turkey necks like these before), a bucket and a net and you’re good to go.

Drive on out to Lake Road and jockey with locals for a spot to cast your line. Once you secure your spot on the side of the road, just tie a knot around a section of the turkey neck and throw it out into the shoreline marsh. Don’t forget to hold on tight to the other side of the line as you throw! Wait for it–you’ll feel some claws a-tugging and you’ll know you’ve got one. Gently, slowly, pull the line back to you, and have your wingman waiting to scoop the net under the crab. You’ll want to bring poboys and ice cold Abita beer from Bayou Adventure when you go, because there’s no rushing a good time. On a recent expedition, intrepid would-be crabbers Jada Durden and Brandy Evans waded out into floodwaters covering Lake Road, determined to make their catch. (Don’t worry, that doesn’t happen often, and it made for a great story, and a great time!)



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. LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM | 35

Canoe and Trail Adventures offers paddleboard and kayak rentals from The Chimes Restaurant on the Bogue Falaya River.

FIVE SPOTS ... to make a splash


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 STREET, MANDEVILLE ABITA SPRINGS PARK

The Abita Brew Pub, the Abita River and a playground are nearby this popular splash site.


Peaceful waterways await exploration


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 36 | 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 offers kayak or paddleboarding and tandem kayak or canoes launching from Bogue Falaya Park paddler's launch. 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 étouffée, 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.


Pick your Paddle

Playgrounds, a swing set and a sandy beach are part of this splash pad complex.

Bike riders enjoying a cruise on the Tammany Trace


Patrick Brooks operates three bike shops on the Northshore: one near the Mandeville lakefront; one in Slidell; and another in downtown Covington at the start of the Tammany Trace bike path. He’s also got self-serve rental stands in Abita Springs. Visit his website to reserve. Guided tours of Old Mandeville, Covington and the Trace can be scheduled with as few as three people, and there’s even a brewery tour by bike. 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 are also available. BAYOUADVENTURE.COM

Tammany Trace Tracing your way through St. Tammany's towns


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 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. The recent expansion into Camp Salmen Nature Park means even more naturescapes to explore. (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.


Above deck on the Windward Passage

Hike the Trails These nature walks make communing peaceful


he Northshore has miles of peaceful hiking trails in accessible outdoors. Pack a backpack and commune with nature. In this part of Louisiana, you’ll find the terrain easy to navigate and the elevation no more than a gentle slope. Let the fresh air of the Northshore’s piney woods rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit. Lovely Northlake Nature Center is a 400-acre preserve located along the banks of Bayou Castine. There are about seven miles of trails taking you through three different ecosystems. Among the sights: A grove of giant magnolias, boardwalk overlooking a beaver lodge and, if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the center’s flock of wild turkeys. Over in Lacombe, Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Reserve offers 15,000 acres of south Louisiana ecosystems. Visitors enjoy hiking, fishing and birding along its waterways and trails. The two-mile Boy Scout Road Interpretive Trail includes a boardwalk and overlook at Bayou Lacombe, and birders will likely spot the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker here. The state park trails at Fairview-Riverside in Madisonville and Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville also offer boardwalks and plenty of opportunities for wildlife spotting and birding (over 400 species have been recorded at Fontainebleau). Other spots to check out are the Lake Ramsey Savannah WMA and the Nature Conservancy’s Abita Creek Flatwoods Preserve which features the Pitcher Plant Boardwalk. If a leisurely stroll is more your speed, walk along Lakeshore Drive’s paved path in Mandeville. The cool breezes off Lake Pontchartrain and the shimmering sunlight on the water will make your heart sing. 38 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM

Above Deck 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. Bring the food and beverage items of your choice.


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

Fish On! Catch your limit and a good time

F Put Your Toes in the Sand Visitors are always pleasantly surprised when they discover our stretches of beaches


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.

ishing is a favorite pastime on the Northshore and a fun activity yearround 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.


Tim and Charlotte building a fire

Glamping at Fontainebleau State Park Enjoy a family nature escape–with an easy button BY CHRISTINA COOPER

“Mom, do you want to talk about glamping?” Four days earlier, I had spilled the beans about our upcoming glamping expedition to Fontainebleau State Park. Though I felt like we had exhausted the conversation already, (what with talking about it every day since), I didn’t mind talking about it again when my daughter, Charlotte, looked up at me with bright blue eyes, earnest and eager. Her enthusiasm was contagious. There are eight state parks in Louisiana that now have Tentrr sites, 60 glamping sites in all. Tentrr makes it simple for would-be campers, especially those of us who are looking for an easy button on a fun family adventure. The canvas safari-style tents come fully equipped and are a brilliant way to go camping comfortably. Living locally, Fontainebleau was even easier for us to have a staycation getaway. Friday evening, as the sun started to wane in the sky and twilight approached, we made our mad dash to get out the door after work and school, and to get settled in at the site before dark. We had packed our groceries, lanterns, backpacks and bedding the day before, and on the way to the park we stopped at a nearby store to pick up a few bundles of firewood. We passed the main entrance to Fontainebleau State Park and entered at the second entrance, in a less-traveled area of the park. All Tentrr sites were chosen for their natural beauty and ours was perched with three others on the edge of a large and shimmering pond, across the water from a long fishing pier. I had sagely chosen 40 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM

a site we could drive to for our first family glamping adventure. Now that we know what to expect, the three Tentrr sites that are only accessible by a paddle across Lake Pontchartrain beckon to my husband every day as he drives home from work across the Causeway. Next time. Patrick, our Tentrr CampKeeper, met us at the parking area with a smile to introduce us to our home away from home. He had thoughtfully left a hand cart at the end of the road to help

glampers tote their (ahem) necessities to the sites. Because, let’s face it, the kind of people who go glamping still bring way too much stuff anyway. He showed us the propane heater inside the tent (which would later keep us toasty warm), the five gallon container of water on the picnic table and the grill and fire pit just waiting to roast marshmallows for s’mores. My family wasted no time lighting a fire, and just as the sun was beginning to set, we spotted a bald eagle perched at the top of a longleaf pine tree. My husband flashed me a brilliant smile, and we told stories from our childhood late into the night as our daughter happily stoked the fire and sent embers sailing into the air. A faint rustle nearby belied the presence of company at our campfire, and Charlotte was riveted to see a possum circling just at the edge of the firelight, which she promptly named Harold and made an honorary pet. She was excited to see him every night and so sad to leave him on departure day. An owl hooted good night as we drifted off to sleep; we were warm and cozy all night long, all three of us snuggled in the comfy

“There are few experiences that compare to opening up a tent’s flaps to behold a beautiful landscape.”

The sweet Tentrr setup


queen bed. There are few experiences that compare to opening up a tent’s flaps to behold a beautiful landscape, and the next day, as the morning haze hung low over the pond and I burrowed in the bed a little longer, I watched as Charlotte jubilantly deposited more wood on the pit under her daddy’s watchful eye. Morning brought a spontaneous discovery hike on the trail that meanders along Cane Bayou. We studied deer and raccoon footprints in the mud and woodpecker holes in the trees, and Charlotte climbed on massive fallen trees from one of this season’s many hurricanes. We had the trail all to ourselves. Next stop: Bayou Adventure in Lacombe, where we ordered crawfish boudin egg rolls and shrimp and catfish poboys to eat during our pre-booked lunchtime canoe trip down Cane Bayou. Charlotte was enthralled with Bayou Adventure’s “Cajun Cracker Barrel” vibe and checked out the taxidermy on the walls, the big tanks of bait fish and the shop’s resident snake. Everywhere she looked, something fantastic caught her eye. I’ve paddled Cane Bayou many times with guests, and it’s one of my favorite activities in St. Tammany, but having my family on this paddle made the experience exceptional. It’s not uncommon to see herons, egrets, osprey, otters–even alligators on Cane Bayou–but I wasn’t prepared for the loud crashing noise I heard off to the east as we paddled alongside Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. Suddenly, a white-tailed deer burst through the marsh grass and towering cypress trees and swam across the bayou in front of us, doggedly pushing through the water until he emerged on the opposite bank. “Grab your camera!” my husband reminded me as we watched the breathtaking scene unfold in front of us. Jubilant at our great luck, we shared wide grins as we paddled on toward the mouth of the bayou, where it empties into Lake Pontchartrain. Though it was a cold day, the sun warmed our shoulders, and a surprising shift in the winds kept it at our backs on the almost-effortless paddle. Later, we spied a heron with a big bass in its beak on the way back to the campsite, and a graceful doe grazing in a clearing at dusk. We cooked hamburgers and s’mores over a campfire, saving a few scraps for Harold, our uninvited but welcome dinner companion. As we took a night walk under a starry sky, I mused that our whole glamping experience was nothing short of a series of magical moments, and a memory our family will cherish always. LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM | 41

CONNECT LOOKING BACK Northshore residents live among the ghosts of St. Tammany’s past. Experience history at places like scenic Camp Salmen in Slidell, the Bayou Lacombe Museum or on a self-guided walking tour of Old Mandeville.

St. Tammany timeline

The Choctaw inhabit the northern shore of Lake Pontchartrain, which they called Okwa’ta (meaning “wide water”).


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.




1600 B.C.

Originally home to Choctaw and other tribes, the Parish has been shaped by various cultures and events

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.

Life at the Lang House


our the Jean Baptiste Lang House, just blocks from Mandeville’s lakefront, and learn that it was built in the early 1850s by a Belgian-born tobacconist who made his living in New Orleans and his home (post-divorce) in the little Anglo-Creole cottage. Almost destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, the house was rescued, restored and repurposed by preservationists to provide a unique glimpse into the fascinating history of Old Mandeville. One of the few such cottages still standing, it was meant to be a summer home, as were many in Mandeville; wealthy New Orleanians used the Northshore as a means to get away from

the city’s brutal summer heat, mosquitoes and yellow fever. Volunteer docents point out the unique architectural features: mortise and tendon construction, square nails, exposed scarf joints, original box columns and walls of shiplap cypress planking. Some portions of the walls have faux bois (literally meaning “fake wood”), a technique of hand painting on graining to replicate more expensive woods. There’s even a tiny gift shop with architectural salvage and antiques. Open Thursday and Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., closed the month of August. 605 CARROLL STREET, MANDEVILLE



CAMP SALMEN IS A LOVELY 130-ACRE NATURE PARK maintained by St. Tammany Parish

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.



Historic Camp Salmen

First span of the 24-mile Pontchartrain Causeway is built, creating the longest continuous bridge over water in the world.

for visitors to enjoy. The peaceful respite has 3.3 miles of trail system in various stages of development, a boundless Kids Unlimited playground, boardwalks and an accessible amphitheater located on Bayou Liberty, with plenty of opportunities for exploration. Budding botanists appreciate the Camp Salmen Live Oak, accessed via the Camp Ridge Trail and listed on the Live Oak Society Registry, as well as the presence of pitcher plants sprinkled through the boggier areas of the park. Hikers and bikers are thrilled with the extension of the Tammany Trace into the park. Camp Salmen’s scenic setting along Bayou Liberty in Slidell is also a site of significant historical interest in St. Tammany. In the late 1700s, the property of Camp Salmen was awarded as a land grant by Spanish governor Esteban Mirò. In the early 1800s, Joseph Laurent acquired the land and is thought to have built one of the oldest trading posts in the Bayou Liberty Region there. Now open daily. CAMPSALMENNATUREPARK.ORG 35122 PARISH PARKWAY, SLIDELL


St. Tammany Time Machine The past is accurately and delicately preserved on the Northshore


This late 19th century lumber baron’s home includes memorabilia and photographs from the area. The Queen Annestyle home is on the grounds of Fairview-Riverside State Park.



History and culture meet in the Bayou Lacombe Museum, housed in the oldest existing wooden schoolhouse in St. Tammany Parish. Museum exhibits explore 18th, 19th and 20th century life in Lacombe.




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.

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 Award-winning The Moviegoer.



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. 44 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM


Housed in the town’s old jail, the museum displays two floors of photos and memorabilia from Slidell’s history as well as the South’s role in the Civil War.


Madisonville’s maritime history is explored through artifacts, exhibits, dioramas and displays. See lighthouses of Louisiana, visit the lightkeeper’s cottage and learn about the museum’s location on the former Jahncke Shipyard site.



TREAT YOURSELF Some of us just need to shop. You’ll find plenty of shopping opportunities on the Northshore, so let’s go! LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM | 45

FIVE SPOTS ... to shop



The town’s historic district is a walkable feast for shopaholics, with quaint streets, cottage boutiques, restaurants, galleries and so much more. Check out Lee Lane, Rutland and Columbia streets for sure. 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, Lane Bryant and more. (Restaurants and a multiplex movie theater, too.) PINNACLE NORD DU LAC, COVINGTON

Find Kohl’s, Kirkland’s and Academy here, as well as specialty shops like Ban Soleil and Bra Genie. I-12 at Pinnacle Parkway. 46 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM

Shop ’til you drop


outique and antique shops are sprinkled all around the Northshore. You’ll see them on your way to the large shopping plazas, so be sure to stop and browse and meet a friendly local shopkeeper. You’ll find all sorts of treasures you’ll want to take home. Looking for something out of the ordinary?


Sterling silver Spanish Moss pendant 3424 US-190, MANDEVILLE ABITA BREWERY

Abita Cooking Louisiana True Cookbook 166 BARBEE ROAD, ABITA SPRINGS

Consider monk-made soaps and candles from the St. Joseph Abbey Gift Shop; Abita Beer cookbooks, growlers, t-shirts and other merch from the Abita Brewery Gift Shop; and for delicious, melt-inyour-mouth pralines, Miss Emma’s can’t be beat. You’ll find the smiles come free with your sweet treat.


Sal & Judy’s Creole Italian sauces, dressings 125 E 21ST AVE., COVINGTON ST. JOSEPH ABBEY GIFT STORE

Monk soap 75376 RIVER ROAD, COVINGTON (985) 867-2227




Coasters from local artist Christina Pappion 2983 US-190, MANDEVILLE


Tenants at this sprawling center include Best Buy, Dillards, Dick’s Sporting Goods, TJ Maxx and numerous restaurants. Located off the Fremaux exit. (If you’re looking for antiques, head to Olde Towne Slidell, a few minutes away.)

Girod Street Shopping Wares that span the ages are available in Old Mandeville BY JYL BENSON


andeville has a storied past as a lakeside retreat for wealthy New Orleanians who traveled across Lake Pontchartrain to escape the city and yellow fever during the 19th century summer months. Remnants of graceful, beautifully restored properties from a bygone era dot Lakeshore Drive behind which unfolds a historic shopping, dining and entertainment district spanning blocks of easily walkable treelined streets with plenty of free, easily accessible parking. Businesses here are privately owned, usually with the proprietor on premises, ensuring a singular experience. Start your day with a truly exceptional cup of coffee. A rustic, unpainted cottage surrounded by wildflower gardens and sprinkled with tables and seating nooks, The Book & the Bean represents a recent merging of The Book Nook and Flamjeaux Coffee Company, a world-class coffee roaster located right around the corner in Old Mandeville. Each batch of Flamjeaux coffee begins with select green coffee beans naturally roasted in small batches, then ground to create the freshest, most fragrant cup of coffee imaginable. Inside, the cozy shop sells carefully selected books, local art, handmade beeswax candles, handmade quilts and vintage china. 235 GIROD STREET, (985) 237-3655

Tallulah’s Vintage Market changes constantly as it is stocked and restocked with rare and fine antique furniture and collectibles such and religious ephemera, vintage linens, signs, china, handmade soaps, local honey, unique gifts, upscale one-of-a-kind furniture pieces and on the really good days, homemade pralines! 149 GIROD STREET, (985) 951-2300

In keeping with the neighborhood it serves, Cameo is stocked with elegant, casual choices for date nights, dinner with friends and romantic strolls along the nearby waterfront. Look for Joe’s Jeans, Lauren Hope jewelry and a well-curated selection of serve ware for entertaining and gifting. 302 GIROD STREET, (985) 231- 1332 Donna Plaia, the proprietress of Das Schulerhaus, is the angel of all things Yuletide. However, this festive shop celebrates all holidays—or even just the given day, all year long. The cottage store is lavishly stocked with Christmas items, often with an Old World bent, that keep time with the Easter Bunny, Halloween goblins, nightlights masquerading as stained-glass art, Mardi Gras decor, festive housewares, seasonal clothing, kooky teapots... you name it. Take time to linger and explore this veritable funhouse. 611 GIROD STREET, (985) 727-7778 Charissa and Anthony Lovecchio, a certified sommelier, organize the wines in their cozy shop and wine club, The Grapeful Ape, by the types of proteins they best pair with. Looking for something to serve with lamb? There is a sign for that. Serving a crown roast of pork? Just look for the sign. Since 2018, the focus here has been on offering value wines from all over the world with the driving belief that excellent wine does not have to cost a fortune. The array of offerings trends toward those from organic, bio-dynamic and small production wineries. In December 2019, the Lovecchio’s opened Ape Cave ‘a Vin, a craft cocktail bar, on the other side of the building with the talented Paul Calecas practicing his superb mixing skills behind the bar. Also on offer are wines by the glass/bottle and beer, along with assorted meat and cheese plates. Frequent pop-ups featuring local chefs and culinarians are hosted here. 2013 JEFFERSON STREET, (985) 951-2400


It was a chilly night in November 2019 when friends Melissa Levine and Sarah Northey Eddy realized the dream of their gallery and artists’ workspace in opening The Wild Osprey. A rotating roster of works from local Southern artists and unique gifts from around the world keep things bright and interesting. Artist-taught classes are offered in the detached rear studio for a hands-on experience. Check out TheWildOsprey.com for more details. 522 GIROD STREET, (985) 801-9463

For a quick grab-and-go lunch or a take-home dinner, check out Girod Street Market and Deli. The market features local produce, grass-fed beef, 100 percent non-GMO chicken and pork and farmfresh eggs for making your own meal. Fully prepared daily specialty meals that need only be popped in the oven—Panko-crusted rack of lamb with elegant sides, anyone?—make entertaining easy as do garden flowers, regional snacks and delicacies. 528 GIROD STREET, (528) 629-4260 LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM | 47

Forward to the Past Shop the Streets of Olde Towne Slidell BY JYL BENSON


2238 FIRST STREET, SLIDELL (985) 285-5613

Upon entry, Antiques & Art on First strikes an elegant note. Several rooms are filled with a roster of striking antique goods that changes as quickly as the merchants represented here can move them in. Most vendors’ tastes run toward oak and mahogany furnishings, stained glass, mirrors and military antiques. A selection of antique busts in the likenesses of sea captains and Paddy the Irishman is particularly eye-catching. Marsha Rogers’ section of the shop is stocked with more controversial and conversation-worthy goods. On offer (and definitely for sale) are several vintage licenses allowing the bearer to earn a living as a prostitute. Each dated license is framed in a suitably rustic manner and each bears the professional’s name, likeness and her area of “expertise” in her chosen profession. Also available are framed vintage nude portraits (discrete pieces of tape render them G-rated), and a collection of Prohibition-era liquor bottles. Rogers’ collection also includes a 55-drawer tiger oak mercantile, a massive hall tree carved with five vaguely creepy faces (“My mother said they were giving you the evil eye,” Rogers says), exquisite Rosedale pottery, working vintage pendulum wall clocks and an extensive offering of Paleo-era Indian arrowheads from a variety of states. 1952 FIRST STREET, SLIDELL (985) 643-4790 48 | LOUISIANANORTHSHORE.COM

The embodiment of the term “iron fist in a silk glove,” Taylor Alfonso is an advocate for the autistic community, a leader in the Northshore business community and a founder of successful fundraising initiatives. The seemingly tireless proprietress of Stella and Grace Boutique, Alfonso sets the tone for customers the moment one passes through the door into the cool, sophisticated sanctuary that sets off her merchandise like objects d’art: “Would you like a glass of champagne or a mimosa?” she asks. With a relaxing libation in hand, it could be easy for any woman to imagine herself conducting the various facets of life while reigning radiant in the chic, fashionable and sometimes daring pieces Alfonso has on display. An indulgence in the gloriously displayed self-care and luxury fragranced goods on hand would complete the picture. “People will stare,” Alfonso says. “Make it worth their while.” She recently established Oh La Love, an online boutique featuring clothing for infants and young children (ohlalove.shop). In spring 2021, Alfonso will open a second location of Stella and Grace in Mandeville. 2260 CAREY STREET, SLIDELL (985) 2654412, STELLAANDGRACE.SHOP


he streets of what is now Olde Towne Slidell were erected in a simple grid pattern close to the railroad that led to its development in 1882. A thriving city grew out from the old town leaving a historic district remarkably intact with highly walkable streets shaded under a canopy of old growth trees and dotted with shops privately owned by locals. In fact, most shopkeepers are on hand to share their knowledge about the goods they sell. Green Oaks Apothecary beckons from the sidewalk with a free sidewalk library filled not with books but with canned food items and pantry goods and a sign instructing “Leave a Can, Take a Can.” That spirit of generosity sets the tone for the soothing shop Brandee Santini opened eight years ago before moving on to larger digs on First Street two years ago. Compelling works from local artists adorn the space where business is brisk for blended restorative teas, skin care and bath products. The shop recently became the Northshore’s only source for foods and snacks crafted from local organic sprouted beans and grains. Santini is planning the addition of a café soon. Of note (in a place where so many things are noteworthy) are recycled glass vessels filled with hand-poured soy candles. They emanate remarkably vivid and transportive fragrances associated with iconic New Orleans neighborhoods and landmarks. Buy one and bring the vessel back to be refilled at a 20 percent discount.


Fairview-Riverside State Park in Madisonville on the Tchefuncte River.

PRSRT STD US Postage PAID Mandeville, LA Permit No. 253

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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!

THE GETAWAY Two-night stay at the Fontainebleau State Park cabins Kayak rentals with Canoe and Trail Adventures Tour with Cajun Encounters Dinner at Hambone in Mandeville Dinner at The Lakehouse Breakfast at Liz’s Where Y’at Diner Lunch at Palmettos on the Bayou Northshore culinary & brewery basket


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