In New Orleans, a new year ushers in two things (not lifestyle resolutions and fresh habits): Carnival and king cake. Beginning Friday, January 6 (King’s Day), New Orleanians and beyond have 47 days to eat the multi-colored, ring-shaped cake, all the way through Mardi Gras, which this year falls on February 21. On Thursday, January 5, the now five-year-old King Cake Hub is throwing a party to count down to that first slice of king cake, accompanied by live music, dancing, and Carnival pageantry.
It’s the fifth year for the seasonal King Cake Hub, founded by Will and Jennifer Samuels as a pop-up selling dozens of bakery and restaurant king cake options in one place, and the second Carnival season since Will died of esophageal cancer in September 2021. In 2022, the first Mardi Gras season following Will’s death, King Cake Hub relocated to Zony Mash Beer Project, a taproom and beer garden that grew into a central gathering spot during the pandemic for socially-distanced live music, food truck pop-ups, and other events. King Cake Hub returns to the brewery again for 2023, this year building excitement for the shorter-than-average Carnival season with a countdown party beginning at 9 p.m. and culminating with a cutting of the first king cake at midnight.
The Hub hosts an additional kick-off to the season on King’s Day, a pop-up at the Historic New Orleans Collection on Royal Street, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Another King’s Day party will take place at Bywater Bakery, one of the city’s favorite king cake purveyors, kicking off at the corner of Dauphine and Independence Streets at noon on Friday.
On Friday, January 6, King Cake Hub (1464 S. Broad Street), opens daily at 8:30 a.m. with more than 70 different king cakes for sale until sold out, through Lundi Gras on February 20.