NOLA of Christmas Past

In case you haven’t heard me rave about it before, New Orleans is one of my favorite cities.

Over the past few years, I’ve made an annual pilgrimage. I’m saddened that I won’t be able to visit this go round because…2020. But I still want to celebrate this beautiful spot, during my favorite month to travel there.

Whenever I’m abroad, I love talking with non-Americans about which cities they’d like to visit in the US. The most common answers are:

  1. New York
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Las Vegas

I’m not sure if most would agree, but numbers 2 and 3 are way off in my opinion.

I want to make the case for New Orleans to be included:
  • NOLA should be heralded as the music capital of the United States.
    (look out Austin, this Jazz hub has you beat)
  • The city is filled with the most incredible, color drenched architecture.
  • It’s home to a huge art scene that’s vast and varied.
  • Both Creole and Cajun food are national treasures.
  • It’s steeped in unusual history.
  • And it’s home to some of the friendliest locals you can find in the continental US.

*and no, I’ve never even been to Mardi Gras

Browse the pictures below for more evidence of why New Orleans is one of the greatest US cities.
I took these pictures in December 2019.

Christmas in the French Quarter is a brilliant mash of nostalgia.
Last year, we visited with friends and rented an AirBnb in the beautiful neighborhood.

New Orleans has more historic districts than any other city in the US. Twenty to be exact!

Merry Christmas from New Orleans / for the love of nike / Jennifer Martinez Conway

St. Louis Cathedral, pictured below, is the oldest cathedral still operating in the US.
I was lucky enough to see my dear friends get married there in 2017.

Dining out in NOLA is 1 part incredible food, 1 part a sight to behold.

The people of New Orleans have mastered ambiance.

NOLA is famous for beignets.

Merry Christmas from New Orleans / for the love of nike / Jennifer Martinez Conway
beignets: deep fried dough, covered in powdered sugar

And where else in the world can you set up a concert in the middle of a busy street?

Aside from street concerts, New Orleans knows how to throw a parade.

Before COVID, parades were a weekly occurrence. Especially considering you can easily throw your own 2nd Line at the drop of a hat.

Most 2nd Line parades are traditionally a part of funeral and wedding processions, but you can also celebrate for absolutely no reason at all. Hear Hannibal Buress talk about his hilarious experience in the city of 2nd Lines.

Or watch a video we took during my friends’ wedding:

Here are pictures from the Christmas Parade in 2019:

As for food and booze, here are a few New Orleans staples you won’t want to miss:

Everywhere you look there is art and color.

NOLA is the birthplace of poker, grits, dental floss, and of course–Sazerac.

New Orleans was named for Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, Regent of the Kingdom of France.
Yep, that means there’s an Orléans, France. And it’s pretty cute.

And Bourbon Street wasn’t named for the liquor, but for France’s Bourbon dynasty.

In Louisiana, states are divided into parishes instead of counties. New Orleans is made up of eight.

New Orleans was given the nickname The Big Easy by columnist Betty Guillaud in the 1960s, comparing the laid back nature of daily life to the hustle of The Big Apple.

The city motto is:

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

French for “let the good times roll”

And until we can all get back to New Orleans in person, check out my weekend guides to this amazing city: 2016, 2017, or my holiday guide from 2018.