by Merle Exit
Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday,” is the last day of carnival season as it always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, which this year is on February 14. It’s the time of the year that features King Cake and partying in Shreveport, LA.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with these delicious pastries, it all started many moons ago when a bean was placed in each cake. The person who got the slice with the bean was crowned “king of the feast”. Due to more religious aspects, you will most likely find a small plastic baby representing the baby Jesus. The person who gets that slice gets to continue the party by furnishing the next King Cake.
Lilah’s Bakery, located at 1718 Centenary Blvd. is only open from January 6th until Fat Tuesday this year where they specialize in over 20 flavors. They include: Cinnamon and sugar (most common); Black Forest; Tiramisu; Strawberries and Cream (cream cheese); Maple Bacon; Chocolate Chips and Cream; Peanut Butter and Chocolate; Lemon; and Apple. King Cakes are usually decorated to represent the colors of Mardi Gras: purple (justice), gold (power), and green (faith). The cakes are made daily and never frozen. Due to the biting into aspect, the cake comes with a small box containing the plastic baby and a few sets of beads. If you happen to be in need of a cake and can’t go to the bakery, you can buy it online at www.lilahsbakery.com.
Lilah’s in not new to Shreveport. There are two attractions that are surely worth the visit. Art lovers should take in the Marlene Yu Museum located at 710 Travis St. Contemporary art showcasing Marlene Tseng Yu, born in Taiwan and now living in Queens, NY and featuring her legacy: Rainforest Foundation.
At the age of 80 she is still painting murals that express her love of nature. She is a pioneer in the environmental green movement in art. Whether you love art or just glancing, the view is quite both stimulating and relaxing to the mind. Murals are as large as 18 feet high or 37 feet long. Back in New York her long time husband, James, has always supported her endeavors. In Shreveport her daughter, Stephanie Yu Lusk is the Director of the museum. Yes, it’s a family affair. More recently, Marlene entered ArtPrize, an annual event held in Grand Rapids, MI, with her Forces of Nature series. www.marleneyumuseum.org.
Even newer to the attractions scene is the Shreveport Aquarium located at 601 Clyde Fant Pkwy. Get you aquatic animal experience both viewing into their tanks or ones that are “hands on,” better known as Touch Tanks. Your kids will tank you. The building, one of the Greenest in that state, house more than 3000 animals representing 270 different species. Timed tickets. www.shreveportaquarium.com.