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NBA All Star Game in New Orleans

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Are you looking for lodging near the 2014 NBA All-Star game? Don’t wait to find out who is on the team to get your reservations for the NBA All-Star Game events to be held in New Orleans, February 13-16.  Bring your sweetheart and celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend off the courts with us!

The fan voting results for the All-Star team are not official until January 20, but you can expect to see some of your favorite players and a few surprises taking part in this showcase of events, with top players competing from both the Eastern and Western Conferences.

The weekend activities also feature NBA and the Women’s NBA players and alumni competing in exhibition games including a shooting contest, obstacle course, 3 point competition, and the popular high-flying slam dunk contest.

Terrence Jones and Terrence Ross
(courtesy www.nba.com)

The All-Star Game is on Sunday night, and the halftime show features musical performances by popular artists such as Elton John, Beyoncé, and John Legend.

You can also get tickets to the world’s largest interactive basketball theme park (All Star Jam Session), held at the New Orleans Convention Center. Get your voluntourism experience with the NBA Cares events that give back to the Greater New Orleans community.

New Orleans knows how to do world class sporting events, and all of these experiences are just a streetcar ride away from the Grand Victorian Bed and Breakfast in the historic Garden District.  Join in on the excitement for Valentine’s Day weekend!

New Year’s Eve in New Orleans: Fun, Fireworks and Fleur-de-Lis

new years at our new orleans bed and breakfast

Fleur de Tree

Get your count down on at Jackson Square, near our New Orleans bed and breakfast, for live music with Eric Lindell and the Honey Island Swamp Band.  Just before midnight, from the top of Jax Brewery, the 8-foot-tall fleur-de-lis drops down to switch on the 2014 light.

After the drop, you will want to keep your eyes on the sky for a spectacular 10-minute firework display, consistently ranked one of the best in the nation. You’ll find a club in the French Quarter or along Frenchman Street that will be perfect for your ongoing celebration of the new year.  You can also reserve a spot on one of our historic paddlewheel riverboats to watch the fireworks and enjoy some music and food.

If the French Quarter scene isn’t for you, check out local listings to find your favorite band or discover a new love at some of New Orlean’s great music venues such as Tipitina’s, the Howlin’ Wolf, or the new Civic Theatre on Freret Street near our New Orleans Bed and Breakfast.

The Grand Victorian wishes you a safe and happy new year.  We look forward to seeing you during your travels in 2014.

 

Holiday Home Tours, Concerts and More make New Orleans Your Place of Joy

The holiday events near our New Orleans bed and breakfast just keep rolling with 85 events listed, 50 of which are free, and many great specials still available to make your holiday a festive one.

Take a peek into quiet courtyards in the French Quarter, conveniently located near our bed and breakfast in the Garden District, and private homes in the Garden District with these holiday home tours:  The Preservation Resource Center hosts its eagerly awaited 38th annual Garden District Tours, December 14 and 15.  The Grand Victorian is proud to welcome the tour fans to our neighborhood each year.  The residents of the French Quarter open their garden gates on December 22 with the Patio Planters self-guided walking tour.

new orleans bed and breakfast holiday events

Cathedral Concerts Holiday Series

St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest Catholic cathedral in continual use in the United States, hosts free concerts until Christmas Eve, featuring New Orleans’ best in jazz, gospel and classical holiday music.  Just outside St. Louis Cathedral you’ll find a decades old tradition of Caroling in Jackson Square.  It is a truly moving holiday tradition beloved by locals and visitors held by candlelight on the Sunday before Christmas.  December 22, 7pm.

Also moving, but in a slightly different way is the annual festival and pub crawl, Running of the Santas.  An anticipated 4,000 costumed revelers will jingle their way around the business district on December 14.

new orleans bed and breakfast events

Running of the Santas pub crawl on Dec 14

Finally, add a new tradition to your holiday experience.  On Christmas Eve, take a drive along the Mississippi River west of the city to view the bonfires that light the way for Papa Noel, the Cajun Santa Claus.

Don’t forget to take advantage of our Papa Noel special at our New Orleans bed and breakfast for your last minute getaway to the city that helps you “Follow Your Joy” this holiday season!

New Orleans is your home for history and tradition this holiday season

The National Geographic Traveler lists New Orleans as one of the Best Trips of 2014.  They mention our hot summer months as the time to come for hotel deals in New Orleans, but we know that December is also a great time to visit our city for fun activities and holiday specials.

While we may not have snow in New Orleans, there are many places that twinkle with lights and fun activities to fill your December days and nights.  Our favorite  is Celebration in the Oaks in City Park.

New Orleans Holiday activities

Cajun Night Before Christmas light display at City Park Celebration in the Oaks

It opens November 29 and runs through the holiday season.   City Park’s oak trees are covered in hundreds of thousands of white lights amid extravagant, detailed light displays across 13 acres.  There are musical events and entertainment ranging from children’s choirs and bands to Irish dancing.

The new light display opening this year is Christmas in the District.  Launching November 30 along the Convention Center is an incredible ribbon of lights and spectacular displays synchronized to New Orleans Christmas music.

 

New Orleans holiday shopping

Modern Market on Magazine Street nominated as 2013 “Retail Star to Watch”

New Orleans consistently rates high among travel writers and travel magazine readers as a great city for shopping.  In and around the French Quarter you can find everything from original artwork and grand antiques to handcrafted voodoo dolls.  On the edge of the quarter, the French Market is the oldest public market in the country and is the best place to find regional food items, local music cds, and gifts for every family member back home.

Running through our Garden District neighborhood, where our New Orleans bed and breakfast is located, is  the world-renowned Magazine Street.  Six miles of some of the best antique stores, art galleries, craft shops and classy boutiques to be found anywhere in the city.  During the month of December, the stores have extended hours, holiday decorations, and hold special sales and events to celebrate the Merriment of the Holiday Season.

New Orleans holiday dining

“Wake up” to a holiday feast at your favorite restaurant!

Reveillon Dinners are a Creole tradition from the 1800′s to “wake up” with a dinner following midnight mass.   This holiday convention has been transformed in restaurants that serve sumptuous holiday feasts at incredible rates.

Currently 34 restaurants are offering 4-course meals starting at $34.00, including our neighborhood restaurants:  Commander’s Palace, Upperline, Brigtsen’s and Martinque Bistro.  Christmas New Orleans Style also lists which restaurants are open on Christmas and New Years.

 

Check with us next week for information on holiday home tours, Christmas concerts, bonfires to light the way and more.  Check out our New Orleans bed and breakfast special at our New Orleans bed and breakfast today for your chance to stay in this historic city this holiday season.

 

 

 

 

 

Boudin, Bourbon and Beer

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Get your presale tickets before August 31 for one of the best tasting fundraisers all year, happening November 8.

Benefitting the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, Boudin Bourbon and Beer features 40 of New Orleans’ best chefs preparing dishes using the Louisiana original sausage with rice known as boudin.

Buffalo Trace Bourbon, a presenting sponsor from the world’s most decorated distillery will be pouring “neat” tastes, and professional mixologists will create speciality cocktails.

Buffalo&Abita

Locally bottled Abita beer is one of the sponsoring organizations, and will offer special surprise brews for guests to taste at the event.

Emeril Lagasse Foundation supports non-profit organizations that provide educational programs, life skills development, culinary training and cultural enrichment, creating opportunities in the communities where Emeril’s restaurants operate.

Add some more B’s to your Boudin Bourbon and Beer weekend by staying at your favorite B&B, the Grand Victorian in the historic Garden District.

 

Take Your Happy Feet to the New Penguin Backstage Pass at the Audubon Aquarium

Millicent the Penguin gets her favorite treat!

Millicent the Penguin gets her favorite treat!

 

There is a wonderful new behind-the-scenes activity at the Audubon Institute’s Aquarium of the Americas in the French Quarter of New Orleans that will appeal to all ages. I gave a Backstage Penguin Pass to several family members as a Christmas present ages from 5 to 75 years old. Everyone had fun!

After a quick St. Charles Avenue streetcar ride from the Grand Victorian, we arrived at the Aquarium and were greeted by Tom, a member of the husbandry staff that specializes in penguins. He led us behind the public areas of the building to a staff only “kitchen” where we heard details about what penguins eat and vitamin supplements necessary for these birds living in captivity. We helped prepare the fish breakfast for the penguins that we were about to meet.

All ages love and can enjoy the Penguin backstage pass!

All ages love and can enjoy the Penguin backstage pass!

We carried a bucket of breakfast to the private classroom where Kohl & Millicent were waiting for us. Kohl came out of the door immediately to greet us when we arrived! Once inside, we watched them walk around the room, checking all of us out. Then we got to hold Kohl if we wanted (which we all did!!) They are very light, delicate and soft, except for their beak with which Millicent pecked everyone’s fingers!

While there, we learned more about penguins in general. For instance, did you know that their modified feathers help them maintain their body temperatures in the freezing climates they prefer? Or that the intricate layering of these feathers also keeps them buoyant in water?

Kohl the Penguin examines his artwork

Kohl the Penguin examines his artwork

After feeding both birds, it was craft time! Tom taped some paper to the floor, put 2 spots of paint on the corners, and had each penguin dip his feet in a puddle and walk over the paper to make several unique works of art! Kohl was appropriately dipped in blue paint and Millicent in pink. Once the paintings dried, we each got one to take home.

As soon as all happy feet were clean, Kohl led us out of our classroom, through the public halls of the Aquarium, to the penguin habitat where the public normally views all the  residents. We got to go behind the exhibit to release our penguin friends back into their home environment. They made it back just in time for the scheduled daily public feeding. At this point, we were back outside of the glass and watching along with the public.

Behind the entrance to the penguin habitat

Behind the entrance to the penguin habitat

The entire experience lasted about 2.5 hours and will be a memory that none of us will ever forget! (Two of my nieces already want to go again!)

Tips from the Local:
There are some age/chaperone restrictions that you need to know before going; read them on the Aquarium’s website

Reservations are a must! These passes are only offered twice daily, 3 days a week. Groups are limited to 6 people, so the classes fill quickly due to the popularity of this new attraction.

Every person needs an advance ticket purchased from the Aquarium of the America’s website.

Lastly, here is a great video that gives you another inside peek into this new exciting adventure.

Stay at the Grand Victorian and take a quick historic ride downtown to the Aquarium with your whole family!

 

Get Your Green on for St. Patrick’s Day in the Garden District!

In the city that celebrates, it won’t be too long before the beat of  drums and marching feet resonate on the streets with more parades and celebrations.

Guests enjoy front porch view of St. Patrick's Day

Guests enjoy St. Patrick’s Day Parade

There are several St. Patrick’s Day parades that feature walking groups dressed in costumes of green who give out flowers, beads, and kisses to lucky parade goers along the route.  The floats that follow the walkers throw beads plus the more infamous cabbages, carrots, onions…and moonpies!   The Irish Channel parade on Saturday, March 16 passes directly in front of the Grand Victorian.

One of the marching club members decked out in green

One of the marching club members decked out in green

New this year, the annual Parasol Block Party in the Irish Channel has been extended to a 3 day celebration!

On March 19, our city’s Sicilian heritage is celebrated on St.  Joseph’s Day with elaborate altars in Catholic churches and private homes in honor of this saint who provided relief during a famine in Sicily.

Altar at Innkeeper Bonnie's family's home

Altar at Innkeeper Bonnie’s family’s home

St. Joseph’s Day has also been adopted as an important day for the Mardi Gras Indians, an African-American tradition unique to New Orleans. The Super Sunday Mardi Gras Indian parade on the Sunday nearest St. Joseph’s Day is the one time of year all of the Mardi Gras Indian tribes come together to show off their new suits.  Original costumes are created every year and can weigh between 100 and 150 pounds.

Intricate hand-beaded suits walk the streets on Super Sunday!

Intricate hand-beaded suits walk the streets on Super Sunday!

 

We still have a few rooms left for St. Patrick’s Day weekend.  You’ll get a front porch view of the St. Patrick’s Day parade from the Grand Victorian Bed and Breakfast, and you’re a streetcar away from the French Quarter and Super Sunday events.   Hope to see you on the streets!

New Orleans shows how to Super Bowl

We ventured downtown between Mardi Gras parades this weekend and got a sneak peek at what the rest of this week will offer for locals and our visitors. You can read more about this in the Super Bowl Fan Guide pull out in the Gambit or at www.nolasuperbowl.com

This past Saturday, the ladies from “The Talk” put on their uniforms and set up to film their show in Jackson Square all this week.

SuperBowl New Orleans

Getting ready to start filming The View in Jackson Square

Starting Wednesday: The NFL Experience is described as a Pro football interactive theme park. At the Convention Center from 3-10pm each day. Tickets are $20-$47.

Starting Thursday:  Verizon Super Bowl Boulevard in Woldenberg Park along the Mississippi River offers local music, food and national television broadcasts.  Free.

French Quarter gets Superbowled

Entrance to Jackson Square looks a little different these days!

Thursday: The Super Bowl XLVII Roman Numerals Arrival Show. The glowing numerals are arriving by barge along the Mississippi River and will feature a fireworks display and music.  6-midnight. Free.

Friday:  Community Service to renovate homes in Algiers and McClendonville Neighborhood.  Rebuilding Together.

Saturday:  Super Saturday of Service at 5 sites:  tree planting, energy efficient lights, shoes for youth, and playground building with a celebration of music food and fun at the end.  8am-1pm

Super Bowl Preparations in Jackson Square

The Super Bowl Park at Jackson Square

There’s more, a whole lot more going on as our beautiful city shows it knows how to host a bigger than life party.  We’ll post updates on our facebook page from staff and guests as the experiences happen.

The Grand Victorian wishes to welcome all Super Bowl visitors, especially our guests,  from your home away from home in New Orleans historic garden district!

Papa Noel Comes to New Orleans this Christmas!

Christmas in New Orleans features a wide array of events for travelers, couples and families alike. From Reveillon Dinners to Caroling in Jackson Square, there is something here for everyone.

Download the Christmas in New Orleans Guidebook to see the entire list of events and activities. We have highlighted a few of the events that we like to experience each year.

St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square has concerts almost every night of the week, and you can add your voice to the music with the annual Caroling in Jackson Square on December 16.

Cooking demonstrations, sponsored by our favorite in-room magazine, Louisiana Cookin, are held at the French Market featuring our great local chefs.

Love our architecture? The Preservation Resource Center hosts their annual home tours on December 8 and 9, right in our very own Garden District. This tour is usually a sell-out, so get your tickets and reservations early. French Quarter homes are on tour December 16.

Need some last minute gifts or just want to shop around in a fun relaxed setting? Merriment on Magazine, just a 6 block walk from the Grand Victorian, sponsors festive events on the street and in the shops every weekend in December.

Reveillon Dinners are a transformed “awakening” of the Creole tradition of dinner after Christmas Eve midnight mass. Many of the city’s finest restaurants offer a chance to get a four course meal at a reasonable price.

Don’t forget our Papa Noel rates starting at $165.00 per night plus taxes from December 10-26. We hope to see you under our tree this Christmas season!

TOP 5 FREE THINGS to do in NEW ORLEANS plus a Bonus FREEBIE!

Free events and free things are not only for incoming students, but for everyone. There are many fun and interesting ways to enjoy New Orleans that don’t cost a thing!BONUS FREEBIE:  We have a free Night’s Stay at the New Orleans’ Grand Victorian Bed and Breakfast: BUY TWO NIGHTS & GET THE THIRD NIGHT FREE. Offer expires Sept. 27, 2012. Check our Online Reservations Book and select your dates now for one last summer vacation!
1. Historic Cemetary:  Lafayette Cemetary is the city’s first planned cemetary and has been in use since 1833. Two blocks from our New Orleans Bed and Breakfast, you can wander among the historic tombs and trees during the day for free.

2. Mississippi River:  Catch the Free Algiers Ferry at the end of Canal Street next to the Aquarium for your own “riverboat” ride across the mighty Mississippi to the colorful neighborhood of Algiers. One of the best views of the French Quarter awaits you from the opposite shore.

Downtown view from the Algiers Ferry

3. Sculpture Garden:  Accessible by streetcar and next to the New Orleans Museum of Art at City Park, is the Sidney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden.  It features a serene walk amid the sculptures, you might even spy a yoga class.  On Wednesdays, entrance to the Museum is also free.

Reflection pool at the Sculpture Garden

4. Brewery Tour:  Every Friday afternoons, the local beer brewery, NOLA Brewing has free tours starting at 2pm. Great way to kick off the weekend.

5. Jazz, Brass and Funk:  Several hot spots in the French Quarter and the Faubourg Marigny offer free music that you can enjoy as you stroll the streets or stop in to have a good long listen.