Monday, December 5, 2011

Another Christmas in New Orleans

New Orleans has been said to be the second-best city to get in the holiday spirit, topped only by New York. In a city that loves to celebrate, Christmas is no exception and like everything else, New Orleans puts its own spin on decorating for the holiday.

(photo by Ryan Rivet)

(photo by Ryan Rivet)

One of the most beautiful places to visit during the holiday season in New Orleans is our very own City Park which dresses up in its holiday best with a spectacular display of lights. And if you think that our moss covered Oaks are beautiful on their own, wait until you see them covered in twinkling lights. Open nightly from December 2 through January 1. What a better way to experience New Orleans than through a walk or drive through one of the most majestic parks in the world. Here are some facts about our beloved City Park.

Once the site of Allard Plantation facing Bayou St. John, City Park's 1,300 acres offer visitors a sample of the city's riches both in fine art and natural splendor. City Park is home of the New Orleans Museum of Art and the largest collection of mature live oaks in the world. Trees in the oldest grove are over 600 years old! Talk about a living history -- if they could only talk!

Spanning the transition in art and architecture between Neo-Classical revival and Art Deco styles, the park's bridges, buildings and outdoor sculptures are a constant source of delight to visitors.

The first parcel of land was acquired in 1854, making it one of the country's oldest parks. A series of expansions over time have expanded the Park to its present size.

At 1,300 acres, City Park is one of the largest urban parks in the country - larger than New York's Central Park.

But enough of the history lesson... take a look for yourself the magical place it is during Christmas.

The Carousel - Since 1906 little kids and kids at heart have enjoyed the "flying horses" of City Park's antique carousel, one of only 100 antique wooden carousels in the country and the last one in Louisiana. The carousel, featuring the masterwork of famed carousel carvers Looff and Carmel, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and its renovation garnered national attention and praise from the National Historic Preservation Society.

My own Roma (far right) riding the "flying horses" at the Carousel with two of her friends. To think that 100 years ago, there was another child in her place riding the same horse.

Mr. Bingle welcomes visitors among the Oaks.

The New Orleans Botanical Garden has its roots in the Great Depression as a project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Originally known as the City Park Rose Garden, the garden opened in 1936 as New Orleans' first public classical garden. Reborn as the New Orleans Botanical Garden in the early 1980s, the garden's collections contain over 2,000 varieties of plants from all over the world set among the nation's largest stand of mature live oaks.

The Peristyle is a Neo-Classical structure with majestic Ionic columns and is one of City Park's oldest structures. Built in 1907, the Peristyle was originally designed as a dancing pavilion.

Okay, so perhaps it does not get down to freezing temperatures in New Orleans but what child or adult does not dream of an ice skating rink? So every year, a synthetic ice rink is installed near Mr. Bingle.

And what would a Cajun Christmas be without an alligator. Lit up alligators appear throughout the park and in fact, instead of reindeer, Santa is pulled by a crew of eight alligators down the bayou. In Australia, I hear that Santa's sleigh is pulled by 8 white kangaroos!

So there you have it. Another reason to come to New Orleans for Christmas. In addition to the beautiful city that it is, you will be part of a Grand Christmas Celebration.

For more information on Celebration in the Oaks or to purchase tickets, click here.

And as always, I hope you have a wonderful day wherever this post finds you and don't forget to visit my 1stdibs store for beautiful antiques from New Orleans.


  1. New Orleans looks wonderfully festive and beautiful. I should love to visit and ride the carousel with you!! I have a passion for the old carved horses. xx

  2. Julienne, you are so very sweet and I know how much you love vintage and antique things. The carousel is absolutely stunning. The lights, the glass ceiling, all of it is simply magical. Thanks for your comment!


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