You may not think of New Orleans as a typical Christmas destination. And while it’s true that there won’t have snow, we have a host of activities and attractions that are sure to get you in the holiday spirit. The number of events and activities in New Orleans around the Christmas season is so high because of two things: first, New Orleans has always had a high population of Catholics, and this is their holiday, and second, there’s always a party going on, whatever time of year, and right now, most events are family friendly. Christmas carol services and Christmas eve masses are important occasions, and everyone is welcome. These are only two of the venues where you can hear wonderful Christmas music. No tickets are required for the memorable midnight mass service at St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square, and they host holiday concerts as well (you can see the schedule here http://www.stlouiscathedral.org/mass-schedule.html ) . There is also a lineup of free holiday concerts throughout the month at St. Augustine’s in Treme, the oldest African-American church in the country.
While there’s plenty of traditional holiday music in the city, there are also New Orleans-style performances. Notable musicians and groups sing in churches and cathedrals throughout the month. Luminaries like Sunpie Barnes, James Andrews, and Irma Thomas all have holiday concerts this month, and they’re all free and open to the public.
Want to participate? New Orleans has many opportunities to join in. The annual Caroling at Jackson Square event draws a large crowd of people who gather with candles to sing their favorites. For a smaller crowd, there’s a there’s caroling in Washington Square Park in the Marigny, which you can find out about here http://www.faubourgmarigny.org/ . If it’s too cold outside for you, the Hotel Monteleone has Christmas concerts all month long put on by the best children’s choirs from schools in and around New Orleans. Afterwards, you can enjoy your favorite cocktail at the hotel’s famous Carousel Bar, where literary figures like Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway used to imbibe. The concerts are free and open to the public.
Apart from holiday-themed concerts, as always, there are plenty of other live music performances in New Orleans, even during the Christmas season. For the most comprehensive list of what to hear and where to go, Check out WWOZ radio’s Live Wire for the most complete listing of live music in the city. And while you’re there, give it a listen. It’s arguably the best radio station in the country, featuring incomparable music from New Orleans and beyond. You can find the music schedule here https://www.wwoz.org/calendar/livewire-music and livestream the radio station here https://www.wwoz.org/listen/player/