Another week has come to a close, and the holiday rush is officially at its peak. With Yule tonight, Christmas fast approaching, and Mardi Gras soon to follow, many people are looking for ways to take a break from all of the holiday stress. We’ve got the perfect list for you – full of events where you can embrace the giving spirit of the holidays, relax and watch the Saints play, enjoy some good food, or stay in and cozy up with a good book.
What To Do
There’s always something going on in New Orleans, whatever your tastes. This weekend, there are a wealth of charity events, holiday parties, and other fun things to do, so let’s dive right in!
Looking to support a good cause while you relax and destress from all of the holiday hoopla? A NOLA Christmas Party with Derin Lindsey & Friends may be just the thing. Bring a donation of a blanket, socks, and/or gloves, for the homeless and receive 50% off your ticket – then head inside TRÈO on Tulane Avenue for live music by Kayla Jasmine, Mark Anthony Thomas, Raion Ramsey, Nathan Greaux, & Denesia. Don’t forget to wear your best holiday flannel!
This is an interactive exhibit that uses maps, personal narratives, and documentation to show how government policy created racial segregation and disinvestment in communities that continues into today. Learn how redlining has affected the city of New Orleans, both before Hurricane Katrina and beyond.
Bring an unwrapped gift to help support the “HOPE” mission of empowering youth and parents of all communities. This toy drive helps ensure that underprivileged children don’t go without at Christmas. There will also be turkey & food baskets available for families in need.
Come out and embrace the spirit of Christmas by handing out blankets, hats, scarves, and more to those who most need it at this time of year. Wear your favorite holiday-themed gear and pile onto the Cheshire Cat Bus with The Elephant Collective – a nonprofit group of artists, entrepreneurs, and creators working to inspire each other and their community.
Where to Eat
No other city celebrates food quite the way that New Orleans does. We’ve got some great recommendations for you to try this weekend:
Head over to the Royal Frenchmen Hotel & Bar for some delicious crawfish at only $15 per plate. They’ll also be running drink specials – but only until the crawfish run out. So come early!
Come out to Pythian Market on Loyola Avenue for a variety of brunch foods served from 13 different vendors. Enjoy bloody marys and mimosas while you enjoy the unique sounds of one of New Orleans’ local jazz bands.
Head over to Urban South Brewery to enjoy a shrimp + snow crab boil from Gulf Coast Crawfish while you watch the Saints win out over the Steelers! Feel free to bring your kids – a bounce house will be up all day, and the venue is dog-friendly as well!
This Christmas Eve, skip on the cooking and head to Parkway Bakery and Tavern on Hagan Avenue for some golden fried gulf oysters. These are certified Louisiana wild-caught harvested by local oystermen – nothing flown in. Enjoy your Christmas Eve brunch/lunch and support a beloved local industry all at the same time.
For Staying In
Some would argue that the weekend before Christmas isn’t a time for going out – it’s the perfect time for avoiding the crowds and staying in! We’ve got a collection of music and books that are just right for a holiday weekend in.
Music – Louis Armstrong Christmas Songs
It’s hard to go wrong with this collection of Christmas favorites featuring New Orleans’ own Louis Armstrong. But, if you’re looking for something more modern and a little less holiday…
Music – Chris Thomas King
New Orleans bluesman Chris Thomas King may have been snubbed by the Grammy’s this year, but that’s all the more reason to enjoy his music while you enjoy a few days in.
We couldn’t let Christmas go by without suggesting a read of this holiday classic. If you’re planning on staying in this weekend, we suggest curling up with some hot chocolate and reading this one aloud with the family. Of course, we know that not everyone is celebrating Christmas this weekend, so we have another suggestion as well:
Amanda Boyden may not have been born in New Orleans, but she’s made it her home. She currently teaches writing at the University of New Orleans, where she once attended college. Her novel Babylon Rolling chronicles the stories of five families – white, black, and Indian – living in a single block in Uptown.
And that’s the weekend! We hope that you’ll get out (or stay in) and enjoy one or two of these picks, and let us know what you thought! We’ll be back with next week, looking forward to New Year’s Eve. Until then, remember: every weekend is a progressive weekend!