Local seafood restaurant welcomes back Mardi Gras revelers at St. Charles and Napoleon Avenue
Superior Seafood has spent the past decade offering a fun Mardi Gras experience to diners along the parade route, and they are in full swing of providing that once again. Manager of Superior Seafood John Michael Rowland is delighted to welcome back patrons for Mardi Gras parades.
“Mardi Gras is good for the heart and soul of New Orleans,” Rowland said.
Superior Seafood brought Napoleon and St. Charles Avenue back to life 11 years ago after taking over the formerly abandoned Copeland’s restaurant. They have become friends to people from all around Louisiana and the Gulf Coast area, who have made their Mardi Gras traditions inside Superior Seafood’s dining room, and balcony over-looking the route.
Rowland says Superior Seafood has gained a large footprint being a restaurant on the parade route. No matter what krewe is rolling, this corner attracts an array of parade goers who take full advantage of the amenities and accessibility the turn in the route provides. That means a stop to buy a frozen pomegranate mojito to-go, or a quick break to enjoy the view of floats turning the corner from Napoleon Avenue before they walk deeper into the route. Rowland says companies and families book the tables in the windows far in advance every year, even last year amid heightened restrictions.
“We were pivoting left, pivoting right and making changes, trying to figure out how to make everything work,” Rowland said. “People would get dressed up and they’d call and say they still want their table. It was great because at the time, we were still in the thick of COVID-19 so it was good to see that everyone still had a good attitude towards it all.”
This is a big weekend for restaurants, and Superior Seafood has its staff ready with “Mardi Gras survival packs,” said Rowland. Inside the packs, employees find a Mardi Gras t-shirt, Tylenol, five-hour energy shots and protein packed snacks to cure any oncoming exhaustion.
“We make sure to take care of them so they have enough energy to get through the week,” Rowland says.
Just like when you were a kid, running through the tunnel of team members before your big sports match, Rowland gets the same feeling from parade throws hanging in the oak trees the night before Bacchus. The crowd from Uptown the day before disperses to Mid City for the Krewe of Endymion, and his staff receives some quiet relief, and a good dinner rush. Rowland always drives down St. Charles Avenue after dinner service on Endymion Saturday to prepare himself for the restaurant’s biggest day of Carnival, Bacchus Sunday.
“The stretch between Napoleon and Louisiana has this calm before the storm,” Rowland said. “It’s almost a surreal moment of silence with this fluttering toilet paper from Krewe of Tucks and arch of ladders before the fun and festivities that ensue the next day. It’s very calming taking that drive.”
Rowland and his staff are always looking ahead, and next up on the schedule is Ash Wednesday. Most places will have a breather after Mardi Gras, but not Superior Seafood.
“Being a seafood restaurant in a Catholic town, on a non-meat-eating holiday, we’re very busy,” Rowland said. “That’s followed up by the first Friday in Lent, which is another seafood only holiday. We just keep rolling and rolling through.”
Certainty is beginning to be served to the nation slowly but surely. New Orleans is certainly soaking it all up this Mardi Gras and Rowland is enjoying seeing the city be itself again.
“It’s important for us to get back to being who we are,” said Rowland. “To show the world we have a great time in a responsible manner and throw the best party on Earth.”
The Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) was established in 1946 to advocate on behalf of the state’s foodservice and hospitality industries.