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Holiday Happenings in New Orleans

Aerial view of Buche de Noel

Try a slice of Buche de Noel during a New Orleans Reveillon.

December is a glorious time to visit the city of New Orleans.

For starters, it’s a steal. Many New Orleans Bed and Breakfasts offer Papa Noel rates and specials through much of December. Some rooms are priced as low as $50 / night (top that!), while others offer deep discounts and complimentary bottles of wine. It’s hard to imagine such prices for luxurious inns. Merry Christmas, everyone!

As has been written before in these pages, New Orleans doesn’t need much of an excuse to party. Just about anything merits a celebration complete with food and music, and the Christmas season is no different. While the Christmas spirit spreads itself throughout the city, a couple of  “must see and do” ideas leap to mind.

One is Miracle on Fulton Street. The pedestrian plaza on Fulton Street between Lafayette and Poydras streets is transformed into a magical wonderland through January 2, 2011. Anchoring the decorations is Macy’s 30′ Tremendous Tree. No matter what the weather is doing in the rest of New Orleans, snow will fall at some point each day on Fulton Street in the illuminated tunnel. There really is nothing like this tunnel of light, ornaments and trees.

Another is Reveillon. Le réveillon is French for ‘awakening’. Creole families in the New Orleans of old had an interesting custom – one not unique to them but one embraced with their usual joie de vivre. After Midnight Mass (New Orleans was predominantly Catholic), Creole families would return home to feast until the light of dawn. Traditional Réveillons included rich foods like oysters, shellfish, and maybe turtle soup.

Today, New Orleans restaurants have a modern twist on the Réveillon. Throughout the month of December, participating restaurants offer special prix fixe menus at reduced prices. Réveillons are an opportunity for locals and visitors to try new restaurants for a fraction of the cost. In 2010, Galatoire’s is serving duck andouille gumbo; Brigtsen’s is serving Turtle soup and egg nog creme brulee; and Brennan’s is serving Eggs Hussarde.

New Orleans Bed and Breakfasts dress for the holidays, too. They’re a glorious place to spend part of December.

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