Christmas Time in New Orleans

Me and Holiday Mascot, Mr. Bingle Okay, so it doesn't exactly FEEL like winter in New Orleans.  I mean, 70 degree weather doesn't muster up memories of sipping hot cocoa by the fire.  But take a quick look at the beautiful decorations around town and you'll see the holiday season has indeed begun!

Our city's ever-enterprising marketing gurus have tapped into New Orleans' wintery charm with all sorts of events and attractions.  At the top of everyone's list is Celebration in the Oaks.  City Park transforms into a stunning holiday exhibition- one of the best in the country.  If you're in the French Quarter, don't miss the lights adorning Jackson Square and take in a FREE concert at the Saint Louis Cathedral!  Meanwhile, Canal Street and it's charming red street cars are aglow with decorations, as are local hotels, including my personal favorite: The Roosevelt.  Walk through glimmering arches and grab a hot cocktail from the world-renowned Sazerac bar.  It's downright magical.

Not to be left out, the amazing folks at the Preservation Resource Center are hosting their annual holiday home tour.  Prepare to ogle some of the most stunning historic homes you've ever seen.  Oh yeah... and they're gussied up with some pretty fine decorations, too.  But that's besides the point.  If you want kitchen renovation ideas, do NOT miss the tour!

If you're willing to venture outside the city, the bonfires just might change your life.  My family and I were lucky enough to partake during our first Christmas down South.  We drove to Lutcher with canteens of coffee, hot cocoa, Bailey's and peppermint Kahlua.  "Uncle Larry" invited us to his block party, where they welcomed us with open arms and 3 pots of gumbo.  We strolled along the levee, marveling at hundreds of bonfires in all shapes and sizes, lighting the way for Papa Noel.

It doesn't include snow-capped mountains, but a Louisiana Christmas is one you will never forget.