Holidays in New Orleans 2022: Where to see holiday lights, festivals, parades this season

Holidays in New Orleans 2021: Here’s where to see festive holiday lights this season

NEW ORLEANS (NOLA WEEKEND) - From light shows to parades, this holiday season in New Orleans and its surrounding areas shines bright with the return of several festive events.

One of the region’s popular light shows, Celebration in the Oaks, returns with its “biggest footprint” since Hurricane Katrina this season.

This year, the expanded holiday festival will bring back its Botanical Garden walking tour for the first time since the pandemic, along with the 2.25-mile driving tour with enhanced displays and Carousel Garden amusement park rides.

City Park’s storied event isn’t the only place to see breathtaking displays. Other holiday events announced their return for 2021, including the annual Holiday of Lights in St. Tammany and Christmas in the Park in Jefferson Parish.

Plus, New Orleans gets a brand new holiday parade. The inaugural Children’s Hospital New Orleans Holiday Parade, promises the “first-of-its-kind” high-flying helium balloons in the city when it rolls through downtown New Orleans.

Other festivities also make a return after getting sidelined due to the pandemic.

After a two-year absence, the Norco Christmas Parade returns to the River Parishes. Plus, the Krewe of Krampus announced plans to bring their creepy spectacle back to the streets as a walking parade with changes to be more inclusive and address accessibility needs.

We compiled a list holiday lights, parades and festivals around New Orleans metro area. Check back for updates as we get them. Contact us if there are any changes in schedule or to add your event to our list.

Christmas on Front Street

Nov. 18 - Jan. 1

Olde Towne Slidell gets dressed for the holidays with a dazzling display of lights all along Front Street.

The drive-by, LED light display can be seen along Front Street from West Hall to Erlanger Avenue, on view from Nov. 18 to Jan. 1. The light displays will turn on automatically when street lights turn on and stay lit from dusk to dawn.

Keep Slidell Beautiful and the City of Slidell partners with local organizations and businesses to form the Christmas on Front Street Initiative, intending to spread some Christmas cheer for the holiday season.

Lighting of Canal Street

Nov. 22

The Lighting of Canal Street, a longtime New Orleans tradition, kicks off the holiday season downtown on Nov. 22. The Downtown Development District flips the switch on a million lights from South Claiborne Avenue to the Mississippi River for the duration of the holiday season. The official lighting ceremony happens at Canal Place at 5:30 p.m.

Organizers will simultaneously light a 40-foot tree in Spanish Plaza at the Riverwalk Outlets.

For more details, visit the Downtown Development District’s website.

Celebration in the Oaks

Nov. 24 - Jan. 1 (closed Mondays and Tuesdays until Dec. 19, closed on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31)

Celebration in the Oaks, the big holiday lights event at City Park, will return with its “biggest footprint” since Hurricane Katrina this season from Nov. 24 to Jan. 1. This year, the expanded holiday festival will bring back its Botanical Garden walking tour for the first time since the pandemic, along with the 2.25-mile driving tour with enhanced displays and Carousel Garden amusement park rides.

For 2022, the attraction will include new exhibits, such as Toy Land, a 12-foot Dandelion Meadow Display and Winter Wonderland. The event will also include multiple dedicated bike nights.

For more information or to purchase Celebration in the Oaks tickets, visit the website.

Light Up the Huey Holiday Lights Display

Nov. 25

On the West Bank, historic Gretna gets dressed for the holidays. Get the holiday season started right by watching the trees light up all along Huey P. Long Avenue from 10th Street to the Mississippi River.

The lights flip on at dusk starting Nov. 25.

See more details via the City of Gretna website.

Roosevelt Waldorf Wonderland Lobby Lighting

Nov. 29

The long-awaited, New Orleans holiday tradition returns each November to celebrate the launch of the holiday season. The lobby lighting flips the switch on more than 112,000 twinkling lights, 1,600 feet of garland and 4,000 glass ornaments adorning the Roosevelt’s block-long, grand lobby. Following the lobby lighting, the Roosevelt New Orleans opens its breathtaking lobby for visitors to partake in the beauty and spirit of the season.

A tradition since the 1930s, the scores of festively dressed Christmas trees serve as the perfect family photo-op. The gorgeous display tells a spirited story, showcasing the best of New Orleans and the holidays through a classic theme designed to wow crowds each year.

Visit the website for more details.

Ponchatoula Christmas Lighting

Dec. 2

Holiday cheer will spread through downtown Ponchatoula when the town flips the switch on the Christmas lights on Dec. 2.

Guests can enjoy performances from local schools, Santa photos, hot cocoa, refreshments and late-night shopping. The event starts at 6 p.m.

Christmas in the Park

Dec. 2 - Dec. 30

The annual holiday exhibit at Lafreniere Park sparkles with thousands of twinkling LED lights from Dec. 2 to Dec. 30.

Elaborate decorations, artificial snow and festive lighted displays illuminate Lafreniere Park, while adults and kids alike can watch for appearances by Santa, Rudolph, Frosty, Grinch and Elf.

At Santa’s Express Mail Center, children are able to view Santa’s elves building toys for all the good little girls and boys. Attendees can also enjoy an interactive walking tour set to random scenes from their favorite holiday classics.

Admission is $10 per vehicle, with only credit and debit cards accepted. All vehicles must enter the park from the West Napoleon Avenue access gate and exit at Down Boulevard. Driving and walking tours through the exhibit run Sunday to Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Friday to Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Lafreniere Park will close on Christmas Day and reopen on Sunday, Dec. 26.

For more details, visit the Visit Jefferson Parish website.

Holiday of Lights in St. Tammany

Dec. 2, 3, 9 and 10

St. Tammany Parish officials say the 23rd annual Holiday of Lights will return to its full glory this year. The annual tradition on Koop Drive in Mandeville opens to the public starting Dec. 2.

The event features entertainment from local schools and area performance groups, kiddie rides, visits with Santa and fare from local food truck vendors. The Holiday of Lights display runs Dec. 2 to Dec. 3 and Dec. 9 and Dec. 10 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Visit the website for updates.

Christmas Under the Stars

Dec. 2, 3, 9 and 10

Slidell gets decked out for the holiday season with its annual holiday celebration Christmas Under the Stars.

The attraction features holiday lights, festive decorations, and life-size Christmas Cottages designed by artist Lori Anselmo.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be visiting from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 2-3 and Dec. 9-10 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The kids will have a chance to tell Santa what they want for Christmas and take a picture.

The lights will be on in Griffith Park every night from now to Jan. 3. Admission is free and open to the public.

Find more details here.

Kenner’s Magical Christmas Village

Dec. 2 - Dec. 18

Kenner’s Magical Christmas Village turns Rivertown into a winter wonderland from Dec. 2 to Dec. 18.

Dazzling lights and displays shine bright and festivities culminate in Kenner’s Heritage Park located at the center of the district at 2015 Fourth St. Visitors can enjoy music, food, arts and crafts, snow and a special appearance from Santa Claus himself.

The event runs Fridays through Sundays from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 2 to Dec. 18. Visit the City of Kenner Government Facebook page for updates.

Children’s Hospital New Orleans Holiday Parade

Dec. 3

The inaugural Children’s Hospital New Orleans Holiday Parade will roll through the streets of New Orleans on Dec. 3.

Organizers call the new parade the “first-of-its-kind for New Orleans” and will feature several high-flying helium balloons for the first time in the city. The parade, produced by Kern Studios, will also feature custom-designed holiday-themed floats that include animatronic props, intelligent lighting systems, special effects and audio systems.

Organizers say beloved marching groups and bands will also join the lineup. The parade will roll starting at 11 a.m. The route stars at the corner of Esplanade Avenue and N. Peters Street and ends along St. Charles Avenue in front of Lafayette Square. After the parade, a holiday concert and village experience will take place in Lafayette Square with music from Rebirth Brass Band, food and more activities from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

See more details about the parade and the parade route here.

Algiers Holiday Bonfire and Concert

Dec. 3

Algiers’ biggest annual holiday celebration and New Orleans’ only official holiday bonfire, the Algiers Bonfire, pays tribute to Louisiana’s River Parishes bonfire tradition.

Music performances, food vendors and a holiday craft market are part of the celebration leading up to the star of the event, a 30′ sculptural bonfire set ablaze.

This event is free and open to the public at Algiers Batture. Organizers are asking attendees to register here.

For more information, visit the website.

Winter on the Water Santa Street and Boat Parade

Dec. 3

The City of Mandeville welcomes Santa and Mrs. Claus into town with the Winter on the Water Santa Street and Boat Parade along the Mandeville lakefront on Dec. 3.

The Santa Street Parade starts at Pontchartrain Yacht Club, 140 Jackson Ave. (Lakeshore Drive & Jackson St.), and rolls to the Gazebo at 2623 Lakeshore Drive with a program on the lakefront (between Carroll and Carroll Streets). A boat parade follows at 5:20 p.m.

For more information, visit www.cityofmandeville.com.

Krewe of Krampus NOLAuf Parade

Dec. 3

After two years as a drive-through parade, the Krewe of Krampus returns to the streets as a walking parade for 2022. The unique holiday parade, known as the Krampus NOLAuf, will creep through the Bywater on Dec. 3.

Organizers boast this year is “poised to be even bigger than ever.” The route starts at Parleaux Bear Lab and ends at Bratz Y’all on Royal Street.

The parade is based on the ancient Alpine tradition called Krampusnacht, or Krampus night, is when the king of Christmas nightmares reigns. This year, the krewe welcomes welcome visitors and performers from all over the country and abroad in addition to local crowds.

Parade-goers can expect plenty of unique throws including bells, ornaments, Krampus cups and the coveted lumps of coal. The parade is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

For more information, visit the Krewe of Krampus website.

Gretna Christmas Parade & Christmas Tree Lighting

Dec. 4

Santa will parade on Huey P. Long Avenue in Gretna to help make spirits merry. Santa will light the Christmas tree, and family-friendly festivities and refreshments will be available. The German-American Cultural Center will have pretzels, brats and beer for purchase. The event runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Organizers say the parade route will be announced later.

See more details via the City of Gretna website.

Norco Christmas Parade

Dec. 4

After a two-year absence, the Norco Christmas Parade will roll again at 1 p.m. on Dec. 4.

The parade features Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Destrehan High School band, the Riverside Academy Band, the 610 Stompers and other marching groups.

The Norco Christmas Parade is River Parishes staple that began in the 1950s and ran through the early 1980s before being discontinued. A group of local citizens, including Weber, helped revive the parade in 2001. The annual tradition serves to usher in the Christmas Season for the River Parishes and the surrounding New Orleans area.

Visit the Norco Civic Association Christmas Parade Facebook page for updates.

Olde Towne Slidell Community Christmas Parade

Dec. 4

The Olde Towne Slidell Community Christmas Parade rolls on Dec. 4.

The old-fashioned parade of decorated golf carts, holiday costumes and Santa & Mrs. Claus starts in front of Slidell City Hall, 2055 Second Street, and travels to Griffith Park, 333 Erlanger Street, for the annual lighting of the Christmas trees and Christmas under the Stars.

The event happens from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Streets will begin to close to the public for the parade at 6 a.m.

More information at MySlidell.com and on the City of Slidell Facebook page.

Merry Madisonville

Dec. 4

Ring in the holiday season with the 14th annual Merry Madisonville Parade and Celebration on Dec. 4.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will help kick off a day of fun with a Christmas Parade rolling at 2 p.m. The parade begins at the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum, 133 Mabel Drive, and ends at Madisonville Park and Playground, 1007 Pine Street.

After the parade, festivities continue at Madisonville Park and Playground with light displays, entertainment, kids activities, hot cocoa and photos with Santa.

Find more details here.

Greenway Supernova

Dec. 8 - 10

Greenway Supernova returns to the Lafitte Greenway for its third year from Dec. 8 to Dec. 10.

Supernova is a free, outdoor light-based art exhibit and community celebration featuring light installations. The event highlights New Orleans artists, musicians and food.

Supernova will celebrate luminary artworks by artists such as Monique Lorden, Jessica Bizer and the Dohm Collective.

Visit the website for updates.

Festival of the Bonfires

Dec. 9 - 11

The longtime tradition unique to St. James Parish, the Festival of the Bonfires, happens at Lutcher Recreational Park from Dec. 9 to Dec. 11.

As a prelude to the famous Christmas Eve Bonfires, the event features live entertainment, food, crafts, rides and Santa’s Merry Forest throughout the weekend.

Each night will also be highlighted with a single bonfire lighting. Visit the website for more details.

Covington’s 12 Days of Christmas Lighted Displays

Dec. 9 - Jan. 6

From a partridge in a pear tree to twelve drummers drumming, downtown Covington will glow with holiday images this December with “Covington’s Twelve Days of Christmas” lighted displays. The images will be illuminated seven days a week from dusk to dawn from Dec. 9 to Jan. 6.

Twelve lighted silhouettes depicting larger-than-life images from the traditional Old English Christmas carol, “12 Days of Christmas,” are exhibited at various locations in the downtown historic district. The public is invited to stroll through the city to view all the familiar images from the well-known Christmas carol.

Lights on the Lake Celebration and Boat Parade

Dec. 10

The Pontchartrain Conservancy hosts the annual Lights on the Lake Celebration and Boat Parade at the New Canal Lighthouse on Dec. 10.

It’s a great spot to view the West End Boat Parade. This year, free parking will be available for attendees at the Robért Fresh Market parking lot in Lakeview with a free shuttle bus to the event.

In addition to the parade, the event will provide food from local food trucks, refreshments, kids’ crafts, educational activities and pictures with Santa.

Head to the website for more event details.

Ponchatoula Christmas Parade

Dec. 10

Sponsored by the Ponchatoula Chamber of Commerce. Visit Downtown Ponchatoula and enjoy the 2022 Ponchatoula Christmas Parade! The parade time will be announced closer to the date. The parade will start at Memorial Park and will travel through Downtown Ponchatoula, ending at the Ponchatoula Junior High School.

Lollipops Christmas Parade

Dec. 10

The Lollipops marching group throws its inaugural Christmas parade in downtown Covington at 4 p.m. on Dec. 10.

The parade route starts on N. Jefferson Avenue near the Covington Courthouse, turns right on N. Columbia Street, right on E. Gibson Street and right on N. New Hampshire Street before ending back at the courthouse. The Covington Fire Department will bring Santa to the Trailhead to meet with the kids. The Northshore Food Bank will have its van in the parade accepting donations along the route.

Folsom Horse and Wagon Christmas Parade

Dec. 10

In the heart of St. Tammany Parish, Santa arrives by horse-drawn wagon in the Folsom Horse and Wagon Christmas Parade on Dec. 10.

Organizers say this year’s theme is “Jingle Bell Rock,” and participants riding in the parade compete for awards, such as “Best Themed Wagon.”

The parade starts at 1 p.m. on Highway 40 West, just outside of Folsom, turns left on Austin Street, right on Canton Street, right on Olive Street, right on Railroad Avenue, right on Rosa Cryer Street, right on Wes Burris and right on Broadway Street, before ending back at Highway 40 West.

For updates, visit the Facebook page.

Christmas Past Festival

Dec. 10

On the North Shore, the Old Mandeville Business Association hosts its 18th annual Christmas Past Festival on Girod Street in Old Mandeville on Dec. 10.

The event will feature 75 artists, craftsmen and merchants from across the greater New Orleans area to encourage shopping local. Festivities also include a children’s arts and crafts area, local food vendors and holiday characters.

Organizers encourage attendees to wear costumes to get into the holiday spirit. The free event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, visit OldMandevilleBusiness.org.

LUNA Fete

Dec. 15 - 18

LUNA Fête, the Arts Council New Orleans’ free light-art festival, dazzles downtown with striking light installations from Dec. 15 to Dec. 18.

The ninth edition of the event celebrates New Orleans’ history of costumes and craftsmanship along the newly created Morial Convention Center Pedestrian Park on Convention Center Blvd from Julia Street to Henderson Avenue.

The event, which is free and open to the public, runs nightly from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Visit the Luna Fête website for more details.

Slidell’s Bayou Christmas

Dec. 15-18, Dec. 22-23

Slidell’s Bayou Christmas is a yearly fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana. The merry holiday festival happens at Heritage Park in Slidell from Dec. 15-18 and Dec. 22-23.

This six-day event features free photos with Santa, ice skating, daily entertainment, light displays, food and beverages, holiday decorations and a narrated Nativity display. The event runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. each evening. Admission is free to the public.

Proceeds benefit the Slidell Unit of the Boys & Girls Club.

Follow the Bayou Christmas Facebook Page for updates.

Hammond Christmas Parade

Dec. 16

The Rotary Club of Hammond 64th annual Christmas Parade rolls in Hammond at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 16.

Organizers says this year’s theme is “Lion Up! Christmas!” The lineup is at Southeastern’s University Center parking area, and the parade disbands at the parking lot adjacent to the University Center on University Avenue.

Harahan Christmas Parade

Dec. 17

The Harahan Christmas Parade will roll with floats, trucks and marching groups at noon on Dec. 17. The parade starts at Oasis Truck Stop at 6025 Jefferson Highway and follows the traditional westbound route on Jefferson Highway and disbands after turning onto Folse Avenue.

NOLA ChristmasFest

Dec. 17 - 22, Dec. 25 - 30

NOLA ChristmasFest, the family-friendly indoor holiday festival, transforms 300,000 square feet of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center into a winter wonderland.

Now in its ninth year, the event features carnival rides, giant ice slides, a real ice skating rink, inflatables and holiday décor to spread holiday cheer. Santa and his friends also make an appearance.

Tickets are $25 during weekdays and $30 on Saturday and Sunday, sold online only for timed entry. Each session is four-and-a-half hours in length, except for Christmas Day.

For more information, visit the NOLA ChristmasFest website.

Lighting of the Bonfires for Papa Noel

Dec. 24

The lighting of the bonfires on the levee in St. James and St. John the Baptist Parishes has been a long-standing Christmas Eve tradition. Each year, the unique tradition signals a lighted path for Papa Noel to travel, bringing Christmas joy to the children of the River Parishes.

Organizers recommend that guests arrive at the area before 6 p.m., and the fires will be lit at 7 p.m. Visitors interested in drive through should take LA 3213 to LA 44 (Exit before the bridge). This will take you to the first bonfire. Drive along River Road through Gramercy & Lutcher.

Visit the website and the St. James Parish Facebook page for updates.

Shan Bailey

Shan Bailey

Shan Bailey is the digital content producer and on-air personality for FOX 8 Nola Weekend. Shan is a creative storyteller who is passionate about creating compelling content that connects with audiences.