The holidays in New Orleans are filled with traditions and events for the whole family to enjoy. While New Orleans is a predominantly Catholic city – see St. Louis Cathedral and the Saints – the city is also home to Touro Synagogue, the first Jewish congregation in the Gulf South, established in 1828.
This year, the first night of Hanukkah falls on Sunday, Dec. 22. From then until December 30, the eight days of Hanukkah are a celebration of spirituality over materialism, light over darkness, and the holiday commemorating the reclamation of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and the Maccabean Revolt on the Seleucid Empire over 21 centuries ago. Here’s how you can celebrate in New Orleans.
Hanukkah Events Around New Orleans
Sunday, Dec. 22, 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Riverwalk
On the first night of Hanukkah, celebrate with the community as the Menorah is lit on the Riverfront. Enjoy music, kosher food, entertainment, and children’s activities at this event. The grand Menorah lighting will take place at 5:30 p.m. on the terrace overlooking the Mississippi River.
Latke Board at Saba
Sunday, Dec. 22 through Monday, Dec. 30 at Saba
Enjoy cuisine from James Beard Award-winning Israeli Chef Alon Shaya at his New Orleans restaurant, Saba. For the eight nights of Hanukkah, enjoy a dinner menu featuring a house-made Latke Board, which includes four latkes along with the following: wood-roasted apple butter, celery root puree, pickled scallion, braised greens with schmaltz and chicken skins, cauliflower with cranberries and pine nuts, and sour cream. For dessert, they are offering a special Sufganiyot with roasted pumpkin, date, and pomegranate. Make a reservation here.
Six Nights of Latkes
Monday, Dec. 23 through Saturday, Dec. 28 (closed Christmas Day), nightly at Marjie’s Grill
Six Nights of Latkes is back at Marjie’s Grill. While Chef Marcus is working on some fun new preparations for this year’s menu, he will also offer some classic favorites from past years’ menus, including the everything bagel latke, the scallion pancake latke, and the sweet potato latke. No reservation necessary.
Thursday, Dec. 12, 7-10 p.m. at Press Street Station (5 Homer Plessy Way)
The Jewish Children’s Regional Service presents the 6th annual Latkes with a Twist. Frank Brigsten, chef and owner of Brigsten’s, will be the featured “Latke Master” of the night along with NOCCA culinary students and friends. The evening will also feature live music by Wilson Folk Blues Explosion, complimentary drink specials such as a “Vodka Latke Punch,” and a silent auction. Tickets are $36.
Mobile Menorah Parade
Saturday, Dec. 28, 7:30 p.m.
In New Orleans, there are parades year round. The Mobile Menorah Parade lives up to its name as a parade of cars with Menorahs mounted on top take to the streets. The parade begins at Chabad of Louisiana (7037 Freret St.), heads down St. Charles to Poydras, then toward the French Quarter to Esplanade Avenue before heading back around to Royal and to St. Charles back Uptown to its starting point. Make sure to catch a custom-designed Chanukah bead while on the route!
Sunday, Dec. 22, 4-6 p.m. at the New Orleans JCC
Celebrate the first night of Chanukah at the New Orleans Jewish Community Center. Free and open to the community, this celebration will include a fried chicken and latke dinner and a Menorah lighting. Live music will be performed by The LeeVees.