Tradition is part of how we bring our culture to life and how we enjoy it with others. Traditional celebrations, feasts, parades, and more are all ways for people in any given area to honor their heritage and their cultural surroundings. Few cities can claim anywhere near the staggering amount of background and storied history that New Orleans has, and we have an appropriate number of traditions and celebrations to fit all that culture.
Anytime a big holiday comes around, be it Mardi Gras or Christmas, there is a perceptible and widespread shift in the city's atmosphere. Though New Orleans lacks a "white Christmas" climate, people are no less enthralled by what the city has to offer during the winter months.
For some time now, people have made it a sort of family tradition to visit the Roosevelt Hotel's main hall during the Christmas season. The famous hotel, located at 130 Roosevelt Way, is home to a very spacious hall that is fabulously lit with multiple different Christmas trees, a myriad of ornaments, and innumerable lights. The Roosevelt has been decorating its main hall for nearly a century now, and it is a beloved part of Christmastime in New Orleans, as well as one of the city's most spectacular indoor sights. In past years, finding a day when people were not visiting en masse to get a picture with the iconic set-up was about as rare as tripping in your backyard and striking oil upon landing. While this year is likely to still be crowded, make it a point to socially distance and be considerate to others during your visit. The Sazerac Bar there also usually features a tempting holiday cocktails this time of year, such as the Candy Cane and the Christmas Cookie.
Since 1985, New Orleans City Park has been hosting what has become an increasingly popular and iconic tradition. Aptly named Celebration in the Oaks, over two miles of park space are converted into a wonderland of lights and color that help to make this event one of the most outright impressive displays in the entire country. Every shape and form of special light decorations, from dinosaurs to penguins, has made an appearance at this grand event, alongside the traditional draping of strings of Christmas lights across the oak trees. While walking through the massive area at night while illumined by countless decorations is a critical part of the experience, this year's iteration will be a bit different from the past few decades. City Park is determined to both continue the tradition as well as ensure the spread of COVID-19 is stemmed, so they are shifting from a standard "enter and roam freely"-style to a specially tailored driving route for anyone visiting. If you live in the surrounding area and feel like you need a bit of holiday cheer to perk up what is understandably a less festive holiday season, do not miss this opportunity. The decorations and spirited joy will still be present, and you will be able to enjoy it from the safety of your vehicle. The park is located on 1 Palm Drive, and you can purchase a ticket for the event by visiting their website at neworleanscitypark.com.