With the start of the Fairgrounds racing season beginning on Thanksgiving Day leading the way and Twelfth Night festivities taking us into Carnival, winter rolls into the city with a flourish. Christmas is a special time in the Crescent City.
For the traditionalist, no holiday is complete without a trip to visit Mr. Bingle at City Park’s Celebration in the Oaks. Hundreds of light displays, an ice skating rink and hot-buttered rums make this a beautiful evening for the whole family.
And, really, what is Christmas without caroling? Join the residents of the French Quarter (and usually several local celebrities) for caroling in Jackson Square. Song sheets and candles are provided and it is a truly magnificent sight to see: thousands of candlelit faces framed by the facade of St. Louis Cathedral. The date this year is Dec. 18 .
Is their a gourmand on your gift list this year? The city abounds with food-related events this time of year, and our markets are bursting at the seams with local produce and live music. A French tradition, the Reveillon dinner, has been revived by some of the city’s best restaurants, allowing you to toast the holidays in style. As the ad says, “Want a white Christmas? Have a beignet!”
We are a Creole town, and maybe you’re looking for a more Cajun inspired holiday treat. Take the short drive out of town to Lutcher, LA, for the annual Festival of the Bonfires. This St. James Parish tradition is a prelude to the bonfires that are lit on the levees on Christmas Eve to guide Papa Noel down the Mississippi to good Cajun boys and girls.
There are literally hundreds of holiday activities in the metro area. From Menorah lightings at the Riverwalk to a holiday film festival, you can easily fill your schedule (and the stockings of your loved ones) during December in the Crescent City. But be sure and take some time to walk the streets of the French Quarter or take the streetcar Uptown just as the sun is setting and the decorated homes, trees and balconies begin to glow with twinkling lights. There is something magical in the air this time of year; an anticipation of celebrations to come and the welcoming of another year of good cheer, good food, and good friends in our fabulous city. Joyeux Noel, y’all!