The French Quarter always seems to have magic in the air, but during the holidays it’s even more magnificent. French Quarter Festivals Inc. will produce the 10th annual Christmas New Orleans Style to warm the hearts of even the grumpiest Scrooge.
Throughout the month, special exhibits and presentations will take place; highlights include performances at St. Louis Cathedral by Irvin Mayfield, Rachel van Voorhees, Ellis Marsalis, Theresa Andersson and other local favorites. Cooking demonstrations abound at Arnaud’s, Palace Café, Mr. B’s Bistro and Muriel’s. In addition, various establishments and museums are throwing open their doors to invite revelers in to cherish the delights of the season.
Information, 522-5730, www.fqfi.org/christmas.
It is pretty difficult to imagine what New Orleans must have been like during the Prohibition era, but when it ended in 1933, most people in their right minds were ready to get back to their once-again legal drinking.
Pat O’Brien, who had operated a speakeasy, was now free to open it into a legitimate drinking establishment and it was instantly filled as locals and tourists rejoiced at its festivity. This year, the establishment that’s known for its sweet and succulent specialty hurricane drinks, as well as its piano bar, will host a grand block party to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Pat O’Brien’s on Dec. 3. The Bucktown All-Stars will perform, and the bar will offer a selection of drink specials. It is rumored that even Santa Claus will be in attendance. In addition, Pat O'Brien’s will be selling a special silver anniversary glass, with profits benefiting the 8th District NOPD and Firefighters.
Information, 525-4823, www.patobriens.com.
Okra on da Bayou
A native of South Louisiana, Perry Martin has directed plays in the area, many of them featuring signature Cajun humor. This month, Martin has teamed up with nationally acclaimed playwright Anne Galjour, on a production of Okra, which takes a comical look at a mother-daughter relationship. Lillian Bourgeois is a mother who’s a bit overbearing with her daughters, which may be a common phenomenon to which are added spicy Cajun jokes.
Another highlight of this production is its setting. The Bayou Playhouse, located in Lockport, opened on the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and is built of pieces from the old True Brew Playhouse, in New Orleans’ Warehouse District, which was destroyed by the storm. It is located across the bayou from the original Lockport locks and to get there from New Orleans, one must pass through the cypress groves along Louisiana Highway 1.
The play will run from Dec. 5-Feb.1, 2009, weekends excluding Christmas.
Information, (888) 99-BAYOU (22968), www.bayouplayhouse.com.
Riverwalk’s Festival of Lights
Chabad Lubavitch of Louisiana House will help host Hanukkah at the Riverwalk on Sunday, Dec. 21 from 4-6 p.m. at Spanish Plaza. The annual event will feature a grand menorah lighting, a new “human menorah” and greetings from political and community leaders, as well as a tribute to newcomers in the Jewish community.
Other entertainment will include live music, a kosher food booth, a complimentary latke bar and a Judaica sale along with children’s activities such as arts and crafts.
Chabad Lubavitch, which was established in 1975, provides the state – particularly the New Orleans area – with a range of educational, social and religious services.
Miracle on 34th Street, the beloved Christmas story, is brought back to life thanks to the Jefferson Performing Arts Society.
The main character, Kris Kringle, is hired to pose as Santa Claus during the holiday season for Macy’s in New York City, and he does such a fine job that many begin to wonder if he’s the real thing, while some suspect he’s, in reality, mentally ill. A story of faith and promise, the play is sure to remind viewers that miracles can happen.
The production will run from Dec. 5-14 and will be directed by Janet Shea.
Information, 885-2000, www.jpas.org.
The Art of Giving
The Ogden Museum of Southern Art will host deluxe shopping as well as a Family Fun Day on Dec. 6. The museum’s first-floor retail space, atrium and mezzanine will be filled with unique pieces by more than 35 artists, many of whom will be in attendance. One of the bonuses: no state taxes on purchases of original art, because the Ogden is considered to be in a special cultural district. Museum members receive a 15 percent discount on purchases. There will also be gift-making tables for children to create custom-made items based on works in the Ogden collection. Visitors can also view exhibitions of works by Sally Mann, Margaret Evangeline, Douglas Bourgeois, Lisa Silvestri, Martin Payton, Benny Andrews and George Andrews, as well as art from the Ogden’s Permanent Collection.
Information, 539-9600, www.ogdenmuseum.org