By: USA Today
It may not be on everybody's top 10 Christmas song list, but in New Orleans, there's no better holiday tune than the brassy Christmas in New Orleans by Louis Armstrong, circa 1955. By Thanksgiving, the Crescent City pulls out all the stops with lights, glitter and holiday pageantry. Visitors will find plenty of only-in-New Orleans ways to celebrate, kicking off with a month of Creole-inspired Reveillon dinners to towering bonfires that light up the bayou across and up the river.
Many of the parks around the city are filled with carolers during December, but the most spectacular spot has to be caroling in Jackson Square, usually the Sunday before Christmas. With St. Louis Cathedral as a backdrop, voices raised and candles glowing, there really is joy to the world.
4. Reveillon Dinners
Leave it to New Orleans to give an old Creole holiday custom a deliciously modern spin. In this historically Catholic city, Reveillon (French for awakening) dinners were elaborate family feasts served after midnight mass on Christmas Eve. A typical menu might include eggs sardou, turtle soup, oysters and grillades of veal, all accompanied by much toasting, well into the wee hours. Although the practice all but disappeared in the 1940s, local chefs, including John Besh and Emeril Lagasse, revived the celebration in the 1990s, and typically as many as 40 local restaurants offer seasonal holiday Reveillon menus during the month of December.