Holiday Travel

Naughty and Nice: A New Orleans Christmas Photo Essay

Christmas in New Orleans

New Orleans won my heart years ago, but it was on my most recent visit that I fully understood why. It’s not only the food. It’s not only the music. It’s not only the people or the parades or the po’boys. It’s because New Orleans is a study in contrasts.

Stately mansions lean up against ramshackle, sideways shacks. Women in hats and shawls brush shoulders with women in glitter paint and beads. Four stars and dive bars share the same block. You can get your fortune told by a tarot card reader on the steps of a Catholic church and we drank on Christmas day with a bunch of Texan Republicans in a pirate bar festooned with pride flags.

So of course we spent Christmas in New Orleans this year. With my entire extended family, including my teetotaling mother and her equally alcohol-free brother, my militantly-republican step-father, my practically-a-socialist husband and my best friend slash sister-by-choice who lived in New Orleans for fifteen years and considers more than one dive bar in the quarter to be ‘her living room’ (seriously though, all of the bartenders knew her. It was damn impressive.) Together we formed a small-scale model of the city itself: strikingly diverse yet somehow…it worked.

Scroll on to observe the messed-up beauty that is New Orleans at Christmas. In all of its grand-old-hotel-lobby meets man-in-a-loincloth-playing-the-saxophone glory.

Tasteful Holiday Bunting


Tacky Lights on Bourbon Street


St. Louis Cathedral with Holiday Ribbons


3-for-1 Bud Light Santa


The Lobby of the Historic Roosevelt Hotel


Guy In Santa’s-Naked-Ass Sweater


The Courtyard at the Royal Sonesta with Poinsettias


Dive Bar with Snowflakes


More Festive Bunting


Hot Dog Vendor


Canal Street Streetcar with Wreaths


Drunk Skeletons with Beads


Christmas Day Mass


And my personal favorite (in case you missed it in the header)…

Man in a Santa Hat and a Terry Cloth Loincloth Playing Saxophone Christmas Carols



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