In typical New Orleans style, Christmas festivities in the Crescent Citylast more than a month, with food, music and sparkling lights taking center stage -- naturally.|
It all begins withfood, Reveillon dinners that can last for hours. For music, there's caroling at JacksonSquare or free concerts at Saint LouisCathedral.
For lights, walk through City Park's Celebration in the Oaks, atwo-mile dazzling display of holiday lights. Or just stroll through TheRoosevelt Hotel, a block-long lobby where they definitely have decked thehalls.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the Big Easy. Here's my top list of things to do.
- Eat a Reveillon dinner. A Creole tradition, Reveillon comes from theFrench word "awakening" and was the much-needed meal eaten after a day offasting and Midnight Mass. Today, many restaurants offer delectable four- and five-course Reveillon dinners at fixed prices throughoutDecember.
Antoine's, a famous New Orlean's restaurant, offers atraditional four-course Reveillon menu for $49, while native son John Besh'srestaurant, Domenica, offers a more contemporary four-course Reveillon feastfor $69. When: throughout December.
- Watch a cooking demonstration at the French Market. Top chefs share theirfavorite Reveillon recipes at the free, 45-minute cookingdemonstrations in the French Market. Get tips and tricks and tastings. When: throughout December. 2 p.m.
- Sing Christmas carols in Jackson Square. People gather in Jackson Squareto sing Christmas carols by candlelight, with Saint Louis Cathedral as thebackdrop. Songbooks and candles are provided. When: Dec. 16, 7 p.m.
- Listen to a concert at Saint Louis Cathedral. The city's best choirs, musicians and singers are scheduled to perform one-hour holiday concerts atone of the oldest cathedral's in the country. When: throughout December, 6p.m.
- Stroll City Park's Celebration in the Oaks. Millions of twinkling lightsand animated light exhibits are on display at this 12-acre city park. Boardthe miniature train or carousel and gaze at the holiday lights. When: throughoutDecember, 6-10 p.m.
- Walk the block-long lobby at The Roosevelt Hotel. The stunning display oftwinkling white lights on birch branches, poinsettias and Christmas treescoupled with red bows everywhere make this a must see. Visitthe gift shop or have a Sazerac at theSazerac Bar or a gourmet pizza at the Domenica restaurant. When: throughoutDecember.
- Chat with some of Louisiana's historical characters. Costumed charactersstroll the French Quarter to talk about Louisiana's storied history.Meet and greet the likes of General Andrew Jackson, John Audubon, theBaroness, Marie Laveau, Captain Jean Lafitte and SaintNicolas. When: throughout December.
- Attend the Festival of the Bonfires. The city of Lutcher Park (an hourwest of New Orleans) hosts this fiery festival that includes music, food, agingerbread house-making contest and a nightly bonfire on the MississippiRiver.
The bonfire lights the way for Papa Noel, a tradition dating back more than100 years. On Christmas Eve, in St. James Parish, from Lutcher Park toGramercy, hundreds of bonfires are lit, one right after another, on theMississippi River, lighting the way for Santa Claus. When: December 14, 15,16 and Christmas Eve.
For more information
Go NOLA: gonola.com
New Orleans Online: neworleansonline.com
French Market cooking demonstrations: frenchmarket.org
Caroling in Jackson Square: patioplanters.org
Saint Louis Cathedral Concerts: cathedralconcerts.org
Celebration in the Oaks: celebrationintheoaks.com
The Roosevelt Hotel: therooseveltneworleans.com
Festival of the Bonfires: festivalofthebonfires.org
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