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Things to Do in New Orleans: January

When the rest of the country is settling in after ringing in the new year, New Orleans is just getting started. Twelfth Night (January 6) kicks off the Carnival season (or king cake season for those of us with a sweet tooth) with three parades, paving a way for a multitude of festivals and other events stretching well into the spring. Also, January is one of the coolest months in New Orleans, with the temperatures pleasantly hovering around the low to mid-60s. All you need a light jacket and your stamina.

Here are the highlights of what’s happening in New Orleans this January.

Allstate Sugar Bowl

When: January 1; 7:45 p.m.
Where: The Mercedes-Benz Superdome
What: The popular college football tradition continues for over eight decades. The Fan Jam tailgate party starts at 4 p.m. at the Champions Square at the Superdome.

Twelfth Night

When: January 6; times of parades vary
Where: French Quarter, Uptown
What: The first day of the carnival season, known as Twelfth Night or the Epiphany, will kick off yet again with three parades. Phunny Phorty Phellows will ride the streetcar from Uptown to Canal Street and back starting at 7 p.m. The beloved walking Krewe of Joan of Arc parade will roll in at 7 p.m. from Jax Brewery in the French Quarter, and the Société Des Champs Elysée parade, will take place starting at 7:30 p.m. on N. Rampart Street and Esplanade, going to the CBD. Like last year, it will be following the N. Rampart/St. Claude streetcar route.

Commemoration of the Battle of New Orleans

When: January 8, time TBA
Where: The Monument at Chalmette Battlefield (8606 West St. Bernard Highway, Chalmette)
Annual wreath-laying ceremony honors the troops of the Battle of New Orleans, plus there will be crafts and cooking demos. Park staff and volunteers will be dressed in period clothing to represent American and British soldiers and civilians, and there will be military drills and period weapons firing.


When: Jan. 16–19
Where: French Quarter
What: Pardi-Gras kicked off in 1997 and has been attracting Jimmy Buffet fans, known as “Parrot Heads,” plus other revelers who love a good “trop-rock” party ever since. In its 23nd year, “The Ultimate French Quarter Party” packs a few happy hours, a pub crawl, and lots of live music performances at several venues on Bourbon Street. The second line on Friday, January 17, starts at 7:30 p.m. on the corner of Bourbon and Orleans streets, preceded by the Bourbon Street pub crawl from 4 to 6 p.m.. There’s also a street party on the 700 block of Bourbon Street on Saturday, January 18 (noon to 6 p.m.). Pardi-Gras is open to anyone, as long as you don’t mind hanging with the Hawaiian shirt-wearing, Margarita-sipping crowd. This year’s theme is “Speakeasy in the Big Easy.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration

When: January 20; 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard and Al Davis Park
What: The city of New Orleans is throwing a block party and a parade at the historic Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard from noon to 4 p.m., and will also host a celebration program Al Davis Park from 9 to 10 a.m.