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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!

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!

 

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!

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.

August in New Orleans is Not Too Hot for Music, Art and Fun!

We don’t let the heat keep us from enjoying the city and the summer; here’s what’s coming up to keep you cool during the doldrums of August.

Satchmo Fest in New Orleans

Historic buildings, free music and food tents at Satchmo Fest!

 

Satchmo Fest – August 3rd, 4th, 5th

Satchmo Fest is the premier American jazz festival dedicated to the life, music and legacy of New Orleans’ native son, Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong.  You can get to this free festival by historic streetcar from our Garden District Bed and Breakfast to the French Quarter and the Old U.S. Mint.  Activities include music on multiple stages, dance lessons, kids’ activities, a traditional second line parade, and fabulous food options from local restaurants.

Trombone Shorty at Satchmo Fest

Even Trombone Shorty wears white at Satchmo Fest!

White Linen Night – August 4th

This free New Orleans block party amid the art galleries is also a straight streetcar ride from the inn to the Warehouse Arts District. You are encouraged to wear white to celebrate the historical custom of wearing white linen clothing to reflect the sunlight and beat the heat. As you stroll through the art galleries, sample world-famous cuisine from local restaurants and groove to live music in the street.

Southern Decadence – August 29th – September 3rd

Held every year over Labor Day weekend in the French Quarter, Southern Decadence has been called the largest GLBT community-based event in the South.  Non-stop music, elaborate costumes, a parade, and charity fund-raising events are just a few of the highlights of this six-day party.

 

Join us for some end of the summer fun! Our Buy Two Get One Free B&B Special continues through September.  Dip your toe into the French Quarter during the day and come back to our historic Garden District inn every night to relax and recover.

 

Three June Festivals in One New Orleans Historic Weekend

Tomatoes, Seafood and Zydeco: this festival trio (June 9-12, 2012) celebrates the early summer harvest bounty of the New Orleans region. The festivals are held at the same time and in the same location, the French Market District, 8 blocks along the Mississippi River from Jackson Square to Esplanade Avenue, a quick ride from our Garden District B&B via the historic St. Charles Avenue streetcar.

Historic St. Charles Avenue Streetcar by Garden District B&B

 

The French Market’s Creole Tomato Festival heralds the arrival of New Orleans’ favorite summer vegetable. The New Orleans secret behind what makes a tomato a Creole is only realized through the local culture. And what makes this festival a local favorite are the life size tomatoes strolling the grounds handing out tomato shaped fans and the annual auction of the first tomatoes of the season to local chefs for charity!

 

Garden District B&B

The Louisiana Seafood Festival is held at the Old U.S. Mint (Esplanade Avenue) and features delicious dishes from local restaurants. It celebrates the family businesses that provides most of the shrimp, oysters, crab, crawfish and alligator to the rest of the U.S. (By the way, it’s the beginning of shrimp season too!)

 

Garden District bed and breakfast

 

The sixth annual Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival has three stages (also at the Old U.S. Mint), cooking demonstrations, a large crafts fair with handmade jewelry and art, and some of the best Cajun and zydeco artists in the state.

Some of the artists this year include:

 C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band

Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie

Rosie Ledet

Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas

The Lost Bayou Ramblers

Sunpie & the Louisiana Sunspots

Bruce Daigrepont

Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers

 

Come out and enjoy all three festivals for delicious Louisiana food, music and fun! Two-step your way down to our Garden District Bed and Breakfast to relax after feasting and frolicking along the old Mississippi River.

 

 

 

French Quarter Fest in April

 

Get your music, food and French Quarter cravings met all in one place at French Quarter Fest, the largest free music festival in the South. For four days (April 12–15, 2012) you can hear over 800 local musicians on 21 stages plus taste delicious food from over 65 of New Orleans finest restaurants, also known as “The World’s Largest Jazz Brunch.”

The French Quarter Fest is keeping traditional jazz music alive with Louisiana musicians as well as an International Stage where traditional jazz bands from all over the world will perform.

For the first time since Hurricane Katrina, fireworks on the river are back on Saturday night. Sit along the banks of the mighty Mississippi and watch the show!

You can also learn to dance at the French Quarter Fest. Learn the Charleston, Swing, Zydeco and how to second line at various stages in between music sets.

All of the French Quarter Festival events are free and accessible by the historic St. Charles Avenue streetcar which will drop you off at the front steps of our New Orleans bed and breakfast. Elegant peaceful rooms in the Garden District offer a lovely complement to your fun vacation at the French Quarter Festival.

 

 

 

French Quarter Festival 2011

 

Food, music, and good times is the anthem of New Orleans! The French Quarter Festivals Inc. is proud to host the 28th Annual French Quarter Festival throughout the streets of downtown New Orleans. Last year, the 2010 French Quarter Festival set unbelievable records bringing over 512,000 locals and out-of-towners to the Quarter. This year is no exception and the Quarter is getting ready for the hustle and bustle of one exciting weekend!

Food vendors include some of New Orleans greatest cuisine ranging from Plum Street Snoballs to Superior Grill to The Court of Two Sisters. Whether it’s their first year participating in the Festival or they have been part of the fun since the beginning, the restaurants cannot wait to showcase their most popular dishes. There isn’t a better way to get a taste of the city than at the French Quarter Festival.

If your mouth isn’t drooling by now, then checkout the musical line-up on the seventeen stages that span the Square. The music rings through the city ranging from jazz to foxtrot. Everyone looks forward to hearing the sounds that began at the heart of Louisiana. Grab your friends and family and bring them down to the ol’ Crescent City for the ultimate New Orleans experience. The fun begins on Thursday, April 7 and doesn’t end until the sunsets of Sunday April 10, 2011.

 

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