New Orleans building decked out in colorful Mardi Gras decorations.
From bead and costume shops to pubs and restaurants, these five small businesses offer an added experience to Mardi Gras celebration participants. — Getty Images/Jonathan D. Goforth

It’s the time of year when the small businesses of New Orleans are getting ready for Mardi Gras, the biggest party of the year in that city. Some anticipate generating nearly 20% of their revenue in the weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday. “Economically, I think it’s going to be a big boost,” Dan Kelly, President of Endymion and owner of Beads by the Dozen, told Fox 8, recently. Increased foot traffic will benefit the city as a whole, and these five small businesses are sure to see booming sales this month.

The Bead Shop

A quintessential Mardi Gras tradition, bead throwing is likely the first thing that comes to mind. And Georgia Wilson, owner of The Bead Shop, is ready to equip festival goers with beads of all colors to throw during the many parades that will line the streets of New Orleans. The Bead Shop also proudly offers festive jewelry adorned in symbolic charms, purple, gold, and green.

Beyond Carnival season, The Bead Shop is a great place to go for hand-picked, handcrafted or custom accessories and decor. The staff also holds private jewelry-making classes. Located in the heart of NOLA, this “magical little shop” has been serving its community since the early 90s and is rated one of the top 10 bead stores in the U.S.

Southern Costume Company

Since 2010, Southern Costume Company has been the premier “Hollywood Style” costume house in Louisiana. Visionary and founder, Wingate Jones, grew up working in his father’s Western Costume Company based in Los Angeles. He also worked for Universal Studios and costumed for feature films like Top Gun. Eventually, he moved to Louisiana and decided to start his own business which offers cinema-grade garment rental; wardrobe, makeup and hair supplies; design rooms, offices and storage; on-site alterations, and more in a 9,000-square-foot facility, making it a go-to place for all of the Mardi Gras float krewe ensembles and attendees.

Avenue Pub

Balconies are a sought-after vantage point for Mardi Gras, and Avenue Pub has a great wrap-around balcony right on Saint Charles Avenue. Since 1987, Avenue Pub has been in the thick of the action. The Watts family sold the bar in 2022 to Blue Oak BBQ owners, Philip Moseley and Ronnie Evans. This pub serves up food all day long and has an eclectic selection of over 40 beers on tap, many of which are locally brewed. Avenue Pub offers bar favorites like tater tots and sandwiches, with a twist — perfect for absorbing festive adult beverages.

People can purchase tickets to access the newly renovated balcony on select days this holiday season. The pub is also selling six packs to-go in a branded soft cooler.

Some [businesses] anticipate generating nearly 20% of their revenue in the weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday.

Gris-Gris

Gris-Gris opened its doors in 2018 and quickly became a New Orleans favorite, winning several accolades for its refined, Southern cuisine, exemplary executive chef, and comfortable ambiance. It’s a great choice for float krewes wanting to privately celebrate their performances or foodies wishing to witness their dishes being made in an open kitchen.

In 2022, the restaurant creatively packaged frozen king cake daiquiris in half-gallon jugs to-go. This year, Gris-Gris is offering Mardi Gras party platters through its new next-door neighbor, Gris-Gris to Go Go, and urges pre-ordering now due to popular demand.

Manny Randazzo King Cakes

In 1965, the Randazzo family opened Randazzo’s HiLan Bakery in Chalmette, Louisiana. Manuel Randazzo Sr.’s son, Manny Randazzo, carried on his family’s tradition and opened Manny Randazzo King Cakes in the mid-'90s. Using their original recipe, Manny has quenched local cravings and expanded his business by overnighting this Mardi Gras favorite to fans across the country.

With his pecan praline king cake dubbed the “King Cake King,” it’s no surprise that Manny’s bakery is completely booked for 2023 shipping orders. So, anyone who’s wanting to try this delicacy that is a cross between coffee cake and a cinnamon roll will have to wait in line at the storefront.

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