The annual bonfire lighting along the Mississippi River kicks off a sundown on Christmas Eve. Bonfires will be lit from Gramercy to Paulina. Parish officials recommend arriving along the levee by 7pm to stake out a good spot. This annual Louisiana tradition is tied to our version of the Santa Clause story: Papa Noel. Here in New Orleans we don’t have snow or cold weather to welcome a sleigh and eight reindeer, so instead Papa Noel arrives in a boat pulled by alligators. Lighting fires along the river insures that Papa Noel doesn’t get lost and finds New Orleans, along with all the other towns along the river, without trouble. In addition to the bonfires, there are plenty of opportunities to grab a bite to eat and listen to music as you make your way along the levee.
Bring the family; New Orleans is decking the Hall! Traditional dixieland Jazz is a treat for the Holidays! It’s time for Preservation Hall’s seventh annual Creole Christmas celebration. Join Lars Edegran’s Preservation Hall Stars, featuring special guest vocalist Big Al Carson, in a special presentation featuring some of New Orleans’ best-loved holiday selections. This year they will be featuring 5 performances of this wonderful holiday tradition. Shows at 1pm, 3pm, and 5pm on December 24th and 2pm and 4pm on December 31st.
Advance tickets are available now at www.preservationhall.com/
The Treme Creole Gumbo Festival will be taking place this weekend in Louis Armstrong Park, just north of the French Quarter. Festivals are always happening in New Orleans, regardless of the time of year, and with hot pots of Gumbo abounding the cooler weather is no excuse to stay indoors! Louisiana cooking, New Orleans jazz, and a sunny forecast mean the festival is sure to be a success! Find more information here: https://www.jazzandheritage.org/treme-gumbo/
The old New Orleans neighborhood of Faubourg Tremé, often referred to simply as Tremé, was the first free black neighborhood in America. Since 1812, when the neighborhood was incorporated into the city, Tremé has given birth to a whole host of New Orleans icons: jazz, brass bands, architecture, Mardi Gras Indians, and several pioneers of the civil rights movement. The neighborhood can be found between North Rampart, which borders the French Quarter, Canal St, and St Bernard Avenue. The name of the area comes from the Frenchman who acquired and then subdivided the area, Claude Tremé. When Tremé sold his holdings the lots were purchased primarily by free people of color including craftsmen, musicians, and Haitian Creoles. Two hundred years later Tremé is home to several prominent cultural insitutions in New Orleans, including the New Orleans African American Museum, the Backstreet Cultural Museum, St Augustine Catholic Church, and Armstrong Park.
This week marks the bicentennial celebration of the Tremé neighborhood, with lectures, food, drinks, and music. Find more information on this iconic neighborhood and a full line up of events at www.treme2012.com.
One of the more famous New Orleans art events of the year is of course White Linen Night, the Saturday afternoon in August when galleries open their doors and the city dons (what else?) white linen as it strolls through the Art District. Although White Linen Night has all the fun (and swelter) of any New Orleans summer festival, Art For Arts' Sake provides a different look into the city's visual arts community. On Saturday, October 6, New Orleans will be host to a city wide art party complete with food stands, music, outdoor bars, and gallery openings not just in the Arts District but also in the Warhouse District, French Quarter, and along Magazine and Camp Streets. Find details on the street party, which is free and open to the public, along with a list of six must see exhibits (including the All Dead Artists zombie crawl) here.
Oak Alley Plantation's Annual Fall Festival
One of our favorite places to bring visitors is Oak Alley Plantation, a beautiful antebellum home on the river that features an alley of 300 year old (you guessed it) oak trees! Not only can you see beautiful architecture and historic trees at the plantation, but you can always find delicious food at the Oak Alley Restaurant as well. But at Oak Alley's 7th Annual Fall Arts and Crafts Festival you will also be able to find more than 160 artists from around the country, featuring original and handmade creations including jewelry, furniture, clothing, home accessories, paintings, prints, pottery, wooden crafts, and much more. The festival will also feature local cuisine and activities for kids, including pony rides and face painting. This year's festival is taking place on October 20 and October 21.