Every occasion in the Big Easy calls for a parade, so naturally, New Orleans events to look forward to this holiday season include two parades that rhyme! The 2017 Krewe of Jingle Parade rolls through downtown on Saturday, December 2nd on dozens of bedazzled cars all playing Christmas music. The following Saturday, December 9th, the 16th Annual Krewe of Kringle Parade rolls (or rather struts and stumbles) through the Quarter. Although Kringle is a “private parade,” all you need to join the fun is a Christmas costume and $20! Make your way to Molly’s By the Market (1107 Decatur St.), or to BB King’s (across the street at 1104 Decatur), and register before the list closes at 8 p.m. SHARP. At 8:30 p.m., the parade marches with a band and police escort around the Quarter, and ends quite a few drinks later at Pat O’Briens. If you’ve never seen or walked in a New Orleans parade, these two holiday events are great initiations!
Holiday Merrymaking on the Run
That same Saturday, a “Santa apocalypse” invades the CBD when Bad Santas from everywhere descend on the local South Pole (Mannings, 519 Fulton St.) for the Running of the Santas (think Red Dress Run on eggnog steroids). Doors open at 11 a.m., and the outdoor fest with live music and drink specials starts at 3 p.m. Then, at 5:45 p.m., hundreds of drunken Saint Nicks run like reindeer from the South Pole a few blocks to the North Pole (Generations Hall, 310 Andrew Higgins Blvd). There, the party continues with more live music at 6 p.m. and a costume contest at 8 p.m. The run is a charity benefit that’s as much fun to watch as it is to run!
A Season of Sparkle and Song
The French Quarter lights up for the season like a glittering pirate’s treasure chest right after Thanksgiving. On November 28th, the Roosevelt Hotel (130 Roosevelt Way) illuminates its block-long Waldorf Wonderland Lobby display of 22,000+ lights, 44 birch trees, and more. But for a unique New Orleans holiday event you will remember for life, get to Jackson Square by 6:30 p.m. the evening of December 17th. The entire square will shortly fill with people singing Christmas carols by candlelight! Song sheets and candles are provided for everyone by the Patio Planters of the Vieux Carré, who sponsor the annual event. The experience of caroling in Jackson Square—seeing New Orleanians and visitors alike united in joyful song among the floodlit Saint Louis Cathedral and the buildings of the Place d’Armes—is simply unforgettable, and absolutely free.