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Holiday Home Tours: A New Orleans Holiday Tradition

A meticulously decorated New Orleans holiday home.
A meticulously decorated New Orleans holiday home (Photo: Paul Broussard)

December is quite a special month here in New Orleans. The French Quarter, along with much of the city, is decked out with all the trimmings and is brimming with holiday cheer. A litany of special events and dinners round out the month’s festivities. Along with Réveillon dinners at local restaurants, Christmas concerts, and caroling in Jackson Square, another beloved holiday tradition is to participate in the holiday home tours offered throughout the month. We’ve rounded up a list of the holiday’s best for you.

Preservation Resource Center (PRC) Holiday Home Tour

2520 Prytania Foyer (photo credit Preservation Resource Center and Sara Essex Bradley)
The foyer at 2520 Prytania St. (Photo courtesy of Preservation Resource Center and Sara Essex Bradley)

The holiday home tour schedule starts with the PRC’s annual Holiday Home Tour, presented by McEnery Residential, taking place on Saturday, Dec. 14 and Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. This year’s tour includes seven stunning private homes located throughout the Garden District.

Each home, beautifully decorated for the holidays, will feature local musicians for some added ambiance. Holiday Home Tour ticket holders may also visit the tour headquarters at Felicity Church and shop at the holiday boutique. This home tour is self-guided, though docents will be stationed at each home and available to answer questions. The tours run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Advanced tickets are available online for $45 per person ($30 for PRC members and for tours over 10 people). Day of tour tickets will be available for $50 each.

Patio Planters Holiday Home Tour

Created as a fundraiser for the annual Christmas caroling in Jackson Square, the Patio Planters Holiday Home Tour takes place just before the caroling event in Jackson Square on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019 from 1-4 p.m. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of several private French Quarter residences which will be dressed in their holiday best. Tickets are $20 each in advance and $25 on the day of the tours. Children under 12 receive free admission. Day of tour tickets will be available at Creole Delicacies (533 St. Ann St. at Jackson Square). You can pick up tickets purchased in advance outside of Creole Delicacies from noon to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 22. This event is hosted by the Patio Planters of the Vieux Carré, a nonprofit gardening club for French Quarter residents.

Friends of the Cabildo’s Creole Christmas Home Tour

Historic characters at the Spring Fiesta House (photo courtesey of Friends of the Cabildo)
Historic characters at the Spring Fiesta House (Photo courtesy of Friends of the Cabildo)

For those looking for something special to do after Christmas, consider the Friends of the Cabildo’s Creole Christmas home tour, taking place December 27, 28, and 29. The Creole Christmas home tour features the Louisiana State Museum’s 1850 House, the Beauregard-Keyes House, the Gallier House, the Spring Fiesta House, and the Historic New Orleans Collection’s Williams Residence. The homes are decorated to reflect the Christmas style of mid-eighteenth-century New Orleans which includes plenty of garlands and ribbons. This self-guided tour takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, and tickets are $25 for the general public and $20 for Friends of the Cabildo and Louisiana Museum Foundation members.

Hermann-Grima House + Gallier House

Two historic “sister” homes celebrating the holidays festively are the Hermann-Grima House and Gallier House. While both adhere to their normal tour schedules during the holidays, the homes will be in 19th-century holiday dress through January. These 45-minute guided tours, which include some insight into the holiday decor traditions of the period, take place at both houses Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tickets are available for $15 per person.

Williams Residence Holiday Home & Courtyard Tours

Historic New Orleans Collection’s Williams Residence (Photo courtesy of Friends of the Cabildo
Historic New Orleans Collection’s Williams Residence (Photo courtesy of Friends of the Cabildo)

The Williams Residence, located along the back of the Historic New Orleans Collection’s compound on Royal Street, is decorated each year for the holidays with personal effects from Kemper and Leila Williams, the benefactors of the Historic New Orleans Collection. Visitors get a sneak peek of how this couple lived in the French Quarter during the 1950s, including their Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve traditions. The Williams’ were avid antique collectors, and the house displays hundreds of items from their personal collection, including a Christmas tree with original ornaments. Running from December 6-29, these hour-long, docent-led tours are $5 per person (free for THNOC members) and take place Tuesday through Saturday on the hour at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. On Sundays, the tours begin at 11 a.m. Note: there are no tours on Dec. 24 and 25.

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