January kicks off the Carnival (Mardi Gras) season down here which, for many, edges out Christmas as “the most wonderful time of the year.” It’s also the beginning of King Cake Season as well as the city’s year-long Tricentennial Celebration. Come help us celebrate 300 years of fun, funky, fascinating New Orleans.
Make sure you book your hotel early. Hotels fill up quickly during Mardi Gras.
On New Year’s Day, New Orleans will become a sea of orange and crimson as #1 Clemson takes on #4 Alabama in the Playoff Semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The game, played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, is the second-oldest bowl game in the country (since 1935). Since it’s in New Orleans, it’s definitely the most fun!
Every Twelfth Night, the Phunny Phorty Phellows rattle through the city on the St. Charles Streetcar, drinking champagne, eating king cake, and throwing the first beads of the season. Known for their satirical costumes inspired by current events, the Phellows first took to the streets in 1878 (with a long break that lasted from 1898 until 1981).
Yell throw me something, Mister, at La Société Pas Si Secrète Des Champs-Élysées” (The Not So Secret Society of the Elysian Fields), a.k.a, the Société Des Champs Elysée. This band of 40 merry revelers will float through the city on the Rampart – St.Claude Avenue Streetcar. If everything times out as planned, the krewe will pass the Phunny Phorty Phellows who ride the St. Charles Streetcar. Stand at Canal between Carondolet and Rampart if you want to witness the meeting of the krewes.
This annual walking parade honors the patron saint of France. It is inspired by Joan of Arc’s time in France in the 1400s, where she liberated the citizens of Orleans from British siege. Parade goers can be found dressed in gold, and there’s always plenty of king cake to go around.
King’s Day (also known as Twelfth Night and the Epiphany) is the official start of the Mardi Gras season. In New Orleans, Christmas trees become Mardi Gras trees and office break rooms fill up with king cakes. Because New Orleans is celebrating its Tricentennial, this year’s King’s Day celebration will feature Mardi-Gras themed fireworks on the Mississippi River starting at 9 p.m.
At 11 a.m., gather at St. Louis Cathedral for a Tricentennial Mass, produced by the Archdiocese of New Orleans. If you’ve never experienced Mass at America’s oldest cathedral, this is the perfect time.
On January 15 at 9 a.m., meet up at Al Davis Park for a Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration program followed by a communal block party on Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. at noon. On MLK Day, honor the life and work of Dr. King by volunteering at the 2018 MLK Day of Service.
TABASCO® is celebrating its 150th anniversary by restaging TABASCO: A Burlesque Opera at Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré. The opera, which hasn’t been performed in New Orleans since 1894, will be produced by the New Orleans Opera Association and will feature guest conductor Paul Mauffray. Come hear the story of your favorite condiment through song and dance at this official Tricentennial event. For tickets, visit neworleansopera.org/tabasco.
Krewe du Vieux puts on a wildly satirical, adult-themed parade every year with some of the best brass and traditional jazz bands in the city. It’s been a crazy year in Washington – this parade should not be missed.
This krewe’s slogan is “The people shall rule – until a suitable replacement can be found.” That pretty much sets the tone for this parade which follows on the heels of Krewe du Vieux. If you like parades that are more than pretty – parades that make you laugh and make you think – join us on the parade route on the 27th.
The Krewe of Little Rascals is the most flamboyant children's Mardi Gras krewe in history. Named after the famous group of kids from TV and film, the Little Rascals has 14 to 20 floats each year, including court floats, krewe floats and a specially designed float for children with special needs.
Come find the baby! On Saturday, January 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., all New Orleans will be heading to Champions Square for the King Cake Festival. Are you a traditionalist? Need a little filling? Love flavors like praline pecan or bananas foster? Come get a slice of the action.