Thanksgiving traditions and things to do in New Orleans include Turkey Day Races for people and horses, a parade, Festivals, a football rivalry, Jazz Brunch, Turkey Tea, frying turkeys, mirliton casserole, oyster dressing, pecan pie, turducken, candied yams and much more.
Plus the circus comes to town.
Plus the circus comes to town.
Individual and family registrations are available. Register on-line, by mail, or at various stores. You can also show up and register on the mornin of the event.
And Thankgiving dinner in the Fair Grounds Clubhouse, along with a few exacta bets, is a holiday tradition for many New Orleans families. That explains why the Clubhouse reservations for opening day are fill up fast. (You can still go see the ponies run that day if you can't get reservations - You just won't be able to eat in the Clubhouse.) Reservations for Clubhouse dining are easier to obtain for other days during Thanksgiving week. Call (504) 943-2200 or toll-free at (800) 262-7983.
Plus the museum always has several Thanksgiving-ish events before the holiday. The Healthy Harvest event celebrates veggies and fruits for Thanksgiving and includes harvest and autumn activites. The American Indian Heritage Festival features stories, games, music and more.
The football game is still the big draw,but the Bayou Classic weekend now has so many activities and events, you really don't even have to like football to come for the weekend.
Kick-off is the Saturday after Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving Day, there's traditionally an afternoon from the Superdome to the French Market. There are parties of course, including a Fan Fest at the Superdome's Champions Square before and after the game.
The long weekend also features educational events a health,career and college fairs, and a technology village.
Plus a golf tournament, the Battle of the Bands, volunteer opportunities, and the traditional finale, a Sunday Gospel Brunch.
The Bayou Classic is the first of string of holiday football games in the Superdome, which will be capped off by the Superbowl in January.
Eat OutEating out is another tradition for many New Orleans families on Thankgiving.
It's so popular, I'm not sure which list would be longer - restaurants that are open on Thanksgiving in New Orleans or those that are closed. Of course, all the hotel restaurants are open and that includes some name restaurants headed by famed New Orleans chefs. LaPavillion has a popular Jazz Brunch. Legendary New Orleans restaurants like Tujaque's, Commander's Palace, Brennans, and Broussard's will be open. Other options include Ralphs on the Park, Bacco, Cafe Giovanni, the Bombay Club, and many neighborhood restaurants like Cafe B in Metairie which promises a modern twist on Thanksgiving foods with a prix fix menu..
Just think about where you'd like to eat and give them a call to be sure the restaurant is open, see if there is a special menu, and make reservations. It's the easiest way to do Thanksgiving dinner and in New Orleans it's also traditional.
Eat InEating in with family and friends is the most traditional thing you can do on Thanksgiving. Include some traditional New Orleans Thanksgiving food like oyster dressing, seafood sides, mirliton casseroles, pecan pie, gumbo, dirty rice, yams, etc. - Whether you cook them yourself or get a to-go box from a restaurant or grocery.
The Thanksgiving main dish in New Orleans isn't always a Butterball turkey roasted in the oven. Fried turkey was once a novelty but is now a new Thanksgiving tradition. Order them ahead of time and pick up on Thanksgiving Day. Although a boiling cauldron of oil is pretty dangerous, some fry their own turkeys in the backyard. There's a new backyard option, an invention that replicates the oil-fried turkey result but with no oil. I tasted tested one of these turkeys and it was delicious. .
Another option has the turkey sharing top billing with other fowl. The Turducken, a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey, would be welcome at a royal medieval feast of the likes of Henry VII. The Cajun culinary invention is also the favorite of many locals in New Orleans on Thanksgiving.