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Your 2019 LGBT Guide to the Holidays in New Orleans

Experience the holiday lights in City Park. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

The holidays are a special time in New Orleans. Decadent Réveillon dinners, bonfires on the levee, and lights strung throughout the city are just a few highlights. If you’re an LGBT family looking for a unique way to experience the holidays this year, we have a guide for you.

1. A Christmas Story: the Musical

A Christmas Story is finally making its way to New Orleans. The classic movie-turned-musical is coming to the Saenger Theater this December and is sure to give you that Christmas cheer. Whether you have seen the classic movie 20 times or haven’t seen it at all, don’t miss the chance to see Ralphie Parker and the gang live. December 17-22.

Enjoy a decadent Reveillon dinner during December in New Orleans. (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

2. Réveillon Dinners

Réveillon dinners are a staple in New Orleans during the holidays. Historically, Réveillon dinners are decadent meals often enjoyed after midnight mass. But in modern New Orleans tradition, these dinners are upscale meals served with amazing Creole flare. These meals are offered by dozens of restaurants throughout the city, and a full list can be found here. All of December.

3. Holiday Shopping on Magazine

A festive street lined with delectable restaurants and one-of-kind shops, Magazine Street is a year-round alternative to crowded shopping malls. During the holiday season it’s frequented by locals as a reliable haven for holiday shopping. If you visit Magazine Street between Thanksgiving and Christmas, you’ll enjoy a leisurely shopping experience away from the typical holiday rush. November 29-December 24.

4. NOLA Nerdlesque

Nerds and burlesque performers collide in the Crescent City for an epic display of brains, brawn, and beauty. Executive producer Vincent Gallant has swooped up burlesque artists from around the country to put on this extraordinary event. Expect to see intricate costumes and some skin, all with a nerdy flare. November 15-16.

Mr. Bingle is a fan favorite at Celebration in the Oaks (Photo: Paul Broussard)

5. Celebration in the Oaks

Step into City Park – any time from the day after Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day – and experience this joyous holiday light show. The display is nothing short of impressive and rivals similar exhibits around the country. Don’t forget to meet the famed Mr. Bingle and take a ride on the holiday train in the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park. Get tickets in advance here.

6. It’s Jester Joke

Legendary winner of Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 6, Bianca Del Rio brings her hilarious comedy shtick to her hometown. Catch the show’s arguably funniest contestant to date at the Orpheum Theater. Oh, and be prepared for lots of reads. November 10.

7. Bonfires on the Levee 

Every Christmas Eve, New Orleans locals and wise tourists alike take to the banks of the Mississippi River for this timeless tradition. Essentially, the event involves setting flame to a row of teepee-like wood structures lining the river and watching them burn. Sip a beer and enjoy time with your loved ones as you witness a classic Louisiana tradition.

8. Saints and Pelicans Games

The New Orleans Saints and the Pelicans have various home games throughout the months of November and December, and tickets make for great gifts. Don’t miss the Saints as they look to nab some more home wins against the Falcons, Panthers, 49ers, and Colts at the Superdome. And be sure to head to the Smoothie King Center to see the best of the Pelicans. November and December.

Krewe of Jingle rolls on Saturday, December 7, 2019 (Photo: Paul of Broussard)

9. Holiday Parades

In New Orleans, there’s never a bad time for a parade. And when it comes to holiday parading, there’s no better way to celebrate than with the Krewe of Jingle and Holiday on the Boulevard parades. Put on your Santa hat and watch floats, reindeer, stilt performers, snowmen, and fantastic live jazz music stroll by. December 7 (Krewe of Jingle) & December 14 (Jingle on the Boulevard).

10. Cher

Gay icon Cher is stopping by the Smoothie King Center on her newest world tour: Here We Go Again. The tour will be anchored by songs from the memorable Dancing Queen album but will feature many of the pop diva’s classic hits. Don’t miss her as she makes her way to NOLA. December 13.

11. Art Against AIDS

This year on December 7, NO AIDS task force is putting on a special art fundraising gala. The event will feature food, drink, live musical entertainment, and an interactive memory wall for for those who have lost their lives to AIDS. December 7.

Varla Jean Merman prepares for a show. Photo: Paul Broussard

12. Miss Gay New Orleans USofA Pageant

No list of LGBT holiday celebrations is truly complete without the Miss Gay New Orleans USofA pageant. Each holiday season, Oz hosts the pageant, and the winner goes on to the Miss Gay Louisiana Pageant. Competitors are judged on their intellect, speaking skills, networking skills, and, of course, their evening gown. Whether you are a drag aficionado looking for new talent in the industry or you’re new to drag shows, the pageant will certainly be one for the books. December 4.

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