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Article and photos courtesy www.neworleansonline.com
New Year’s in New Orleans
December 31, 2011 – January 1, 2012
When it comes to celebrating New Year’s Eve in grand style, nobody does it better than New Orleans. Not even New York’s Times Square. With live music in Jackson Square leading to a ball drop at midnight followed by a fireworks display, followed by all-night partying in the storied French Quarter and it’s all FREE — how could any other city top that?
Hosted by the City of New Orleans, in collaboration with the Crescent City Countdown Club, the Jackson Square entertainment begins at 9:00 p.m. on the Decatur Street City Stage with a performance by the Lagniappe Brass Band, followed by MyNameIsJohnMichael. Shamarr Allen and the Underdogs will take the festivities up to the midnight countdown. The Hornets Buzz Patrol, from the city’s pro basketball team, will add high energy and get the crowds dancing in the streets!
As the countdown toward midnight winds down, all eyes will turn upward to the rooftop of the Jax Brewery Condominiums. There a newly renovated, LED illuminated, 8′ by 5′ two-dimensional fleur de lis will begin its descent down a 25-foot pole to launch the exquisite “Symphony in the Sky.” At the stroke of midnight, as the fleur de lis completes its descent, the number 2012 will light up, announcing the official arrival of the New Year.
The lovable 6-foot tall “Baby New Year,” wearing a purple and gold diaper (LSU’s school colors), will again be perched on the corner of the Jax rooftop for all to see. Baby New Year will have on his Saints helmet, added the year the Saints played in (and won!) the Super Bowl. He will also be flanked by LSU and Hornets flags and have other special touchups that showcase the spirit of New Orleans.
Then the fireworks begin!
At the stroke of midnight, one of the nation’s top-rated fireworks displays will be shot off from twin barges anchored in the nearby Mississippi River. For the next 15 minutes, as the pyrotechnic extravaganza illuminates the sky, it will be choreographed to soulful New Orleans music. Also included will be the fight songs of our visiting Allstate Sugar Bowl teams, Virginia Tech and the University of Michigan, as well as those of the competing Allstate BCS Championship teams, Alabama and LSU. As the fight songs play, the sky will light up in the teams’ colors!
The NOLA New Year’s Eve celebration will be simulcast live on Magic 101.9 FM and WWL AM and FM and WWL.com, allowing it to be enjoyed in more than 38 states across the U.S. and on the worldwide web.
The party continues in the French Quarter
And then, after the music, festivities and fireworks, the party STILL isn’t over! That’s the time to head over to the French Quarter or to nearby Frenchmen Street for a night of celebrating and whooping it up. New Orleans is a city that stays up all night when there is something big going on and there are few bigger occasions than New Year’s Eve. The party can go on till the wee hours . . . or longer . . . if the weather is warm. Which it usually is this time of year.
Live music, exotic drink specialties, great food, happy people celebrating in the streets and much more. Now how can New York, or anywhere else, top all that?
Quieter Celebration Options
But, if outdoor celebrations and big crowds not for you, there are plenty of classy places around the city to relax and enjoy the festive occasion. You can make a reservation at one of the city’s many fine restaurants and celebrate the evening over delectable meals and of course, lots of bubbly â€“ ’tis the season, after all. Many restaurants offer special deals or packages for the evening, so make sure you check ahead to ensure the perfect night for you, your loved ones and friends.
In the mood for live music? Check out which bands are playing that night. New Year’s concerts feel more like parties. Many places offer hors d’oeuvres and open bars for a flat cover fee. Most bars and restaurants, regardless of size, have something special going on that night. When planning your trip, make sure you check out who is playing where and when, since some venues sell out before the big night. If you can purchase tickets or make credit card reservations ahead of time it is advisable to do so.
For the Kids and Their Families
And, not to leave the kiddies out, if you’re looking for a celebration the whole family can enjoy, there are fun options for all of you. The Louisiana Children’s Museum hosts an annual Countdown to Noon, a festive celebration featuring games, entertainment, and a New Year’s countdown to 12:00 noon, complete with balloon and confetti drops and a soda-pop toast. Festive hats and noisemakers are also included to make the afternoon an extra-special affair. Go to their website at this link to find out more and make reservations http://lcm.org/calendar.
Similarly, the Audubon Zoo hosts a “Noon Years Eve” celebration, so your little party animal can ring in the New Year in one of the country’s top-rated Zoos. This event features live music, games and prizes, and a countdown with sparkling apple cider and other soft drinks. Click here for details and to make reservations.
Whatever your preference is, New Orleans has all the bases covered for New Year’s Eve: everything you could possibly imagine for everyone. It’s a time you will never forget! Once you’ve experienced New Year’s Eve in New Orleans, you won’t want to celebrate it anywhere else. That’s a promise!
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you plan on spending New Year’s Eve in New Orleans you need to make your reservations as soon as possible. The Allstate Sugar Bowl is being played on Tuesday, January 3 and hotel rooms will start filling up that weekend.