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GoNOLA Recommends: 5 Things To Do In New Orleans This Weekend

The Christmas Eve Bonfires on the levee are an old Louisiana tradition. The bonfires light the way for Papa Noel, the Cajun Santa Claus, as he flies through the neighborhoods on his sleigh. You can see the bonfires in St. James Parish, just a short bus ride away from downtown New Orleans (Photo: Cheryl Gerber)

It’s the weekend we’ve all been waiting for: Christmas! We’ve been waiting in anticipation for it to arrive and now that it has, we’re not sure how it got here so quickly. It’s probably because of all the fun we’ve been having this month. Whatever the case, the momentum won’t wane, only gain this weekend! Of course there are many Christmas and holiday festivities, and a couple of non-traditional offerings for those of you who are ready for the holidays to be over so Carnival can begin. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23:

1. Isle of Misfit Toys – Feel like you’re trapped in a snow globe filled with Rudolf and gingersnaps and you’re just about to slap Santa’s jolly grin off his red-cheeked face if you don’t get out soon? Then, the Isle of Misfit Toys at Tipitina’s is just the right non-denominational holiday party for you! Watch and listen as the New Orleans Bingo! Show provides the circus gypsy soundtrack as the lovely ladies of Fleur de Tease put on a vaudeville burlesque performance, peppered with surprises as always. Bring a new, unwrapped gift to be donated to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves’ Toys for Tots program.

Saturday, December 24:

2. Trombone Shorty and Orleans Ave. – The brass blowin, dance infesting funk master of New Orleans, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Ave., will be throwing down Christmas Eve at House of Blues for the second annual Funky X-Mas Jam: Let It Blow! Let It Blow!! Let It Blow!!! Celebrate the holidays in the one of a kind New Orleans spirit: by dancing your butt off to a music legend on Christmas Eve. Kermit Ruffins, who plays Christmas night at the Howlin Wolf, will come help Trombone Shorty start the party. Doors open at 9 p.m. and general admission is $30.00.

Steamboat Natchez in the fog (Photo: Paul Broussard)

3. Christmas Eve on the Steamboat Natchez – What better way to spend Christmas Eve than on a beautiful boat sailing along the Mississippi River keeping watch for Santa and his reindeer entourage on their delivery route? The Steamboat Natchez undocks at 7:30 and sails until 9:30, offering a full Christmas menu and cocktails. Reservations are required and tickets are $69.50 for adults and $34.75 for children.

4. Christmas Eve Bonfire Adventure – If you haven’t already, reserve seats to witness the lighting of the levee bonfires that guide the way for Papa Noel to Cajun country. The Gray Line tour departs at 5:00 p.m. from Toulouse St. at the Mississippi River on the outskirts of the French Quarter and returns at 9:00 p.m. The tickets are $35.00 for adults and $25.00 for children and include round trip transportation and a chance to see the massive burning wooden pyramids, or “feux de joie” as the Cajuns say.

Sunday, December 25:

5. Christmas – Whatever your Christmas traditions are with family and friends, make sure to be safe and have lots of fun, both of which you can do in New Orleans! There are still lots to do on Christmas Day including the Holiday Musical with the Victory Belles at the Stage Door Canteen, and Christmas Day Jinglin’: a tour of New Orleans in all its Christmas glory. Happy Holidays!

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