There are many fables, stories, tales, and traditions told and passed down when it comes to Santa Claus. Did you know that in Louisiana, our Cajun Santa is known as Papa Noël? While the familiar tales have jolly ol’ St. Nick traveling in a sleigh with reindeer, our Papa Noël has eight alligators at the helm of his boat as he delivers gifts. We have a unique holiday culture here in New Orleans and it is a special time of year to come for a visit. We wanted to take some time to highlight the Christmas festivities happening around town in a two-part blog series. Check out our first fun list of things to do below!
Dinners, Caroling, Parades and More!
For residents and visitors alike, caroling in Jackson Square is a major highlight of the Christmas season. It is a joyful tradition that has been going on since 1946. This year the gates will open at 6:30pm on December 17 and you can join in with hundreds of other singers, both amateur and professional. Candles and song sheets are provided!
As a way to “light the way for Papa Noël,” it is a tradition to light bonfires along the Mississippi River on Christmas Eve. As many as 100 or more bonfires can be seen throughout the adjoining communities along the river and many residents set off fireworks and offer free bowls of hot gumbo to celebrate this special evening. Gray Line Tours also offers two tours: the 4-hour Christmas Eve Bonfire Express and the 6 1/2 –hour Christmas Eve Bonfire Adventure Tour, which also includes a fun tour of San Francisco Plantation and a delicious holiday dinner.
Another NOLA tradition that guests will enjoy is a Reveillon Dinner. This is a feast that truly celebrates the season. “Reveillon” means “awaken” in French and this feast is intended to reawaken the senses. Historically, it was a meal served after midnight mass on Christmas Eve and could last for hours. Today there are many restaurants offering modern reveillon dinners to celebrate this Creole tradition.
When it comes to parades, there is no place that does them better! The very popular Krewe of Jingle Parade will be December 2nd this year starting at 1pm down Canal Street. This is so fun for guests as our bed and breakfast is located on Canal! If you will be hanging around with us during the first part of the new year, the grand finale of holiday season takes place on January 6th, 2018 with two parades: the Phunny Phorty Phellows and Joan of Arc.
Christmas in New Orleans is an experience you don’t want to miss. The city is bursting with holiday spirit. There’s so much to do if you want to take it all in but if you desire a peaceful escape away from the hustle and bustle, our inn is the perfect choice for accommodations. Book your getaway online today or contact us for more information.