Celebrate the Holidays New Orleans Style

Arts & Celebrities

No one throws a party like New Orleans and any excuse will do. The holidays suffice.

Until the start of Mardi Gras on February 13, 2024, here are your best opportunities to laissez les bons temps rouler–let the good times roll–in the Big Easy.


Embark on a luminous journey from December 7 through 10 as Arts New Orleans presents the 10th edition of LUNA Fête, a pioneering annual free festival intertwining light, art, and technology. LUNA Fête X will feature interactive installations from national and international artists at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

One of the festival’s highlights is the Daedalum Luminarium, an immersive illuminated experience situated at Mississippi River Heritage Park across the street from the Convention Center. This monumental inflatable sculpture invites visitors to explore cavernous domes and enchanting tunnels in a multi-sensory experience of light, color, and sound.

Due to limited capacity, Daedalum will be a ticketed experience, open from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM on Thursday and Friday, and from 3:30 PM to 10:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are available on-site and in advance. Children under age 5 are free, ages 5 to 9 are $5, and general admission is $10.

Daedalum Luminarium is the product of Alan Parkinson from Architects of Air in the United Kingdom. LUNA Fête X also features three major projects from New Orleans artists.

Tethered to the Land: A Story Told by The Lower 9 by Monique Lorden tells the literal and figurative story of New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. The sculpture doubles as a piano and storybook, with the piano legs and arms symbolizing what the people of the neighborhood value. The hood and body of the piano is engraved with laser cut letters causing shadows of words carrying the stories onto the land it stands upon. These words form a poem which echoes sentiments of long time Lower Ninth Ward neighbors.

A house of traditional New Orleans design, Carlos Luis Zervigon’s Coming Home sits on stilts that raise it to safety. At night it glows from within. On its porch, a figure returns home. The house represents the entirety of the Lower Ninth Ward, its history, people, culture, and traditions. The stilts of the house are steel and sculpted to resemble tree trunks. The house is thereby supported and lifted by the land and the ancestral natural environment.

Marcus Brown’s The Enslaved Drummer Boy is an interactive musical figurative light sculpture showcasing the musical lineages of enslaved people in Algiers Point. The enslaved Africans who lived in Algiers Point created cultural and musical traditions that are echoed in our contemporary culture today.

The sculpture depicts a young enslaved African boy in translucent glass-like material standing tall on a Djembe style drum gazing out towards the Mississippi River. The lower section is touch interactive, allowing users to trigger sounds and light to illuminate or make music.

LUNA Fête will also feature a fashion show as well as nightly live music, DJ sets and a holiday arts market.

LUNA Fête West

This milestone year represents a departure from tradition as LUNA Fête X extends its influence across both banks of the Mississippi River, forging new partnerships with the City of Gretna by introducing “LUNA Fête West: River Connections.”

Gretna City Hall in the town’s Memorial Square along the Mississippi River levee will be animated with a trio of new projections created by local artists. These back-to-back presentations will explore the various aspects of river life including the birds, bugs and boats that have populated Big Muddy. Projections begin at the top of each hour at 6, 7, 8, and 9 PM.

In addition to the projections, LUNA Fête West visitors can enjoy “Interwoven,” an exploration of togetherness connecting humans and nature along the river. Three nightly showings (6:30, 7:30, and 8:30 PM) from the Gretna Amphitheatre will display a series of holographic illusions set to music transforming the Mississippi River into a projection canvas.

Local choirs, a nightly puppet parade and a holiday market further spice up the event.

RTA Ferry will offer rides to and from LUNA Fête X and LUNA Fête West the following times: Canal St. to Gretna at 5:30, 6:30, 7:30, 8:30, 9:30 pm; Gretna to Canal St. at 6:00, 7:00, 8:00, 9:00, 10:00 pm

LUNA Fête X:

December 7-10, 2023; 6:00 PM–10:00 PM

New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Pedestrian Park (900 Convention Center Blvd.)

LUNA Fête West:

December 7-10, 2023; 6:00 PM–9:15 PM

Gretna City Hall (740 2nd Street, Gretna, LA 70053)


The André Cailloux Center for Performing Arts and Cultural Justice, the only Black-led performing arts center in Louisiana, presents the inaugural UNITY FESTIVAL taking place December 1 through January 1, featuring performing arts and community-partnered events. The ACC is a multidisciplinary, community-centered arts, cultural and intellectual center dedicated to freedom, flourishing, and promotion of justice through the arts, community engagement, dialogue, and sustainable arts enterprise development for Black makers.

Through December 24, stage performances of “A Blessing for Christmas” illuminate the gifts of love, family, kindness, and togetherness, all bound together by unwavering faith.

On December 26 and January 1, the first and final day of Kwanzaa, the ACC hosts the New Orleans Kwanzaa Coalition’s Umoja and Imani Community Celebration free and open to the public from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM both days. These celebrations continue the venue’s spotlight on Kwanzaa which also include free workshops for youth and young adults centered on leadership, entrepreneurship and performing arts December 27, 28 and 29 from 6:00 to 7:30 PM, a free festival on December 30 from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and a ticketed dance performance that day at 4:00 PM.

The Windsor Court

The Windsor Court hotel goes all-out for the holidays with a 19 1/2-foot-tall Christmas tree festooned with more than 25,000 white lights and a classic toy train around the base greeting visitors in the lobby. An additional 10 trees adorned with more than 3,000 ornaments are on display throughout the hotel and six-foot magnolia wreaths hang in the main lobby windows. On top of that, there’s over 1,500-feet of gold magnolia garland draped around the rest of the property.

Holiday Tea in Le Salon is a centerpiece of New Orleans’ holiday season. On the busiest days, Le Salon welcomes upwards of 400 guests with a service including a properly brewed pot of tea, a glass of sherry, sparkling wine or specialty cocktail, an enchanting selection of English Tea sandwiches, seasonal scones with clotted cream, and a final course of gourmet desserts.

December rates at the luxury property a half mile from the convention center and LUNA Fête are among the lowest of the year. Take advantage of Papa Noel Room Rates through New Year’s Eve with up to 20% off standard booking using code “PAPANOEL.”

Whatever money visitors save at Windsor Court can surely be spent at historic M.S. Rau on Royal Street in the French Quarter where dropping jaws is the house specialty. From 10-carat diamond rings to original Claude Monet oil paintings, M.S. Rau’s jewelry, fine art and antiques are sure to satisfy the most discerning recipient on any holiday gift list.

For the higher ticket items, perhaps just send a picture, after all, it’s the thought that counts.


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