Louisiana’s largest city has a reputation for making the most of any occasion, and New Year’s Eve is no exception, with sporting events, music, and fireworks among the highlights. Now, NYE in NOLA is getting the recognition it deserves. For the first time in its forty-five year history, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, the most popular televised New Year’s countdown worldwide, will include a live broadcast of the midnight festivities in New Orleans.
In the past, the program has been mostly limited to live feeds of the event from New York and Los Angeles. This year, Ryan Seacrest will host the East Coast broadcast along with comedian Jenny McCarthy, while the Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie will assume the hosting duties in California. The inclusion of New Orleans marks the first time a city in the Central Time Zone has been a part of the show. The selection of New Orleans as the first CT city is understandable, though, given that New Year’s celebrations in the Big Easy are, in their own way, on par with the more widely-recognized parties in the coastal cities. “Known for its vibrant culture and deep musical roots, New Orleans is the ideal choice to host our first-ever Central Time Zone countdown,” said Dick Clark Productions head Mike Mahan.
The annual TV special was created by radio and television personality Dick Clark in 1974. Clark had hosted the seminal variety show American Bandstand since 1957, and wanted to bring a similarly festive vibe to television to celebrate New Years. Although he passed away in 2012, hosting duties were quickly assumed by former American Idol host Seacrest. The ornate, iconic Times Square Ball, which descends down a specially designed flagpole on the roof of One Times Square, is perhaps the most recognizable feature of the broadcast, which features musical performances, interviews with revelers, and footage of ecstatic crowds ringing in the new year.
New Orleans’ equally gaudy version of the Times Square countdown takes place in Jackson Square, with a giant, lit-up fleur de lis standing in for the big ball and fireworks accompanying the drop. The special will also highlight live segments from the Allstate Fan Fest, which precedes the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s day, including interviews leading up to the big moment and musical performances. New Orleans’ musical lineup has yet to be announced, but with performers like Mariah Carey and Gloria Estefan already slated for the NY broadcast, there’s little doubt that equally high-powered stars will be appearing in NOLA. The special will run 5 ½ hours and include reports on other celebrations around the globe. Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve airs New Year’s Eve at 7 p.m. CST.