Planning Thanksgiving Weekend in New Orleans

One of the light displays at Celebration in the Oaks.

My boyfriend's family is coming to New Orleans this weekend for Thanksgiving. I'm excited to see them and show off our new city, but I'm a tad nervous. It might be the fact that I'm cooking Thanksgiving dinner all by myself (for the first time ever…), but that's not the only factor making me anxious.

I think I'm starting to feel protective of New Orleans. I still feel a bit like an outsider, but I'm beginning to feel some ownership over the city. I still need my GPS to get from Lakeview to Uptown, but I'm beginning to understand the culture and quirks of the Big Easy. I'm starting to appreciate the mild winter weather, I've been eating red beans and rice on a weekly basis and I can rattle off a few Saints factoids when needed.

 

So as the host for Thanksgiving weekend, I've been thinking about places to take Chris' family during the visit. His parents and his younger sister will be here and none of them have ever been to New Orleans before. Chris' family is from Northern Maine, about 10 minutes from the Canadian border. It's cold there—so cold that residents always keep their gas tanks half full in the winter so the gas lines don't freeze. I'm assuming Chris' family will be treating this weekend like a tropical vacation, so I want them to have fun.

 

To make sure that happens, I've been dreaming up an itinerary in my head of what they should see. If you have family coming in, feel free to steal some of my ideas. If you have better ideas, help a girl out and leave a comment or shoot me an email at haley@myneworleans.com. I will add you to my list of what I'm thankful for.

 

Here's what I think my guests and I should do this weekend:

 

Do some people watching in the French Quarter. I think walking around the French Quarter just to observe is one of my favorite things about New Orleans. Pretty architecture? Check. Brad and Angelina's house? Check. Drunk women wearing fanny packs? Another check. I can't wait to show them the French Quarter and eat some delicious beignets at Café Du Monde. I think I'll save Bourbon Street for the evening. It sometimes looks a little rough in the daytime, like a college kid waking up from a hangover.

 

See a New Orleans Saints game at the Superdome. Chris and his dad will be at the Superdome on Sunday to watch the New Orleans Saints take on the San Francisco 49ers. It will be Chris' dad's first NFL game ever. I'm sure the Saints fans won't disappoint.

 

Go shopping on Magazine Street. While Chris and his dad head to the Superdome, I'm going to suggest a shopping trip on Magazine Street for the girls. Magazine Street is my favorite place to shop in New Orleans because there are lots of funky boutiques, such as Buffalo Exchange, but also familiar options, such as Francesca's Collection. There are also a lot of places to stop and grab a cup of coffee, a cookie or a full meal to provide sustenance for your shopping spree.

 

Visit Celebration in the Oaks. I was lucky enough to attend the Celebration in the Oaks preview party on Friday, Nov. 16. It was so pretty seeing City Park all lit up. While the 60 degree weather won't feel like Christmas to a few Northerners, at least the Christmas lights will hint that the holiday is coming.

 

Eat, eat and eat. So as you may have guessed, this weekend is not going to be exactly low-carb. On top of the necessary Thanksgiving feast, I'm sure we'll be munching on po-boys, gumbo, beignets and jambalaya, all the must-haves for a New Orleans trip. We're also planning on visiting Acme Oyster House for oysters, and Chicken Sue's for fried chicken. Good bye, waistline.

 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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