Reveillon is a French word meaning “awakening”. In the Creole days of New Orleans it described a meal, which was served on Christmas Eve following midnight mass. Early settlers of the city were Catholic, and the entire community emerged to participate in the ceremonies. After mass, families would come home to a massive feast, already prepared and laid out. A typical reveillon menu resembled breakfast, several egg dishes, puddings and breads, but also could offer rich dishes like turtle soup, gumbo’s, oysters and grillades of veal. Of course, Creoles accompanied this rich food with wines and cordials. The dinners lasted for hours, and even sometimes until dawn.
Over the years this tradition was lost, but was awakened and transformed in the late 1990’s when local restaurants begin to promote special holiday menus. These menus, showcase traditional Creole specialties, are available every night during the holiday season and are offered at a very reasonable price.
Some of our favorite New Orleans restaurants, Upperline, Commanders Palace, Muriel’s and Galatoires, do participate.