Things to Do in New Orleans: January

King Cake Festival
Photo courtesy of King Cake Festival on Facebook

The first month of 2019 is filled with celebrations. Three parades kick off the Carnival season on January 6, plus there’s a multitude of festivals and other events. 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 with the Texas Longhorns vs. Georgia Bulldogs game this year. 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 again ride the streetcar from Uptown to Canal Street and back starting at 7 p.m. The walking Krewe of Joan of Arc parade will roll in at 7 p.m. from Jax Brewery in the French Quarter, and the latest newcomer, 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.

Les Misérables
When: January 8–13; performance times vary
Where: Saenger Theatre
What: The Tony Award-winning musical phenomenon is coming to New Orleans direct from its acclaimed Broadway return. The new production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s has new staging and reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo. The timeless story of broken dreams and unrequited love is set against the backdrop of 19th-century France and has been considered the world’s most popular musical, breaking box office records worldwide in its 30-plus-year run. Tickets are on sale now.

Scheherazade with BBC Young Musician of the Year Sheku Kanneh-Mason
When: January 10–12; 7:30 p.m.
Where: Orpheum Theater
What: The cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who was named BBC Young Musician of the Year and has performed at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, brings his renowned talent to the Orpheum Theater for two performances of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherezade. He will be joined by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
When: January 15; 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.

When: Jan. 17–20
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 22nd 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 18, starts at 8 p.m. on the corner of Bourbon and Iberville streets. There’s also a street party on the 700 block of Bourbon Street on Saturday, January 19 (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 “House of the Rising Sun.”

King Cake Festival
When: January 27; 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: Champions Square
What: Taste the many King Cakes from the city’s best bakeries, enjoy live music, and support pediatric programs and the Ochsner Hospital for Children at this 6th annual festival presented by Ochsner.