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News with a Twist

Christmas in the District

You can find the Christmas spirit in a new part of New Orleans this year – not just on Canal Street or in City Park … it’s in the Warehouse District!

The city is kicking off a weekly concert series called Christmas in the District so WGNO’s Jeff Womack went to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center to speak with Diane Lyons and the Rebirth Brass Band  to get a preview.

November 30-January 5
5pm – 10 pm, Sunday – Thursday
5pm – 11 pm, Friday – Saturday
Convention Center Boulevard
Free and open to the public

More information:

(504) 582-3000
(855) 477-8756 Toll-Free

The lobby of The Roosevelt Hotel  has been transformed into a Christmas Wonderland.

Hundreds showed up Tuesday night for the annual lighting ceremony.

The lobby is now lined with white birch branches and thousands of twinkling lights.

The attractions which are open to the public include a large gingerbread village which depicts some of the states most famous plantations.

Another addition this year is the newly renovated and re-opened Fountain Lounge.

“It’s beautiful. These are the best lights in the whole town and everything is gorgeous,” participant Cindy Wilson said. “We look forward to the lighting every year.”

“We want everyone to come in and enjoy the beautiful decorations, have some hot chocolate with us, all if the great festivities we host during the month of December,” Roosevelt General Manager Tod Chambers said.

Tuesday evening, the Royal Sonesta Hotel officially kicks off the holiday season with its 8th annual Lighting of the Balconies.  Two young patients from Children’s Hospital will flip the switch.  The facade looks miraculous from the outside, but inside, crews have been working tirelessly to transform the hotel into a winter wonderland.  News With A Twist Reporter Deepak Saini takes you behind the scenes.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas inside the Royal Sonesta Hotel.

The hotel’s President and General Manager says, “Its a very popular place.  It’s one of those places where you must stop in if you’re in New Orleans to see the Christmas decorations.”

Crews have been working around the clock since Thanksgiving to turn the hotel lobby into a Christmas paradise.

While it’s business as usual inside the Royal Sonesta, you can’t help but be mesmerized, especially when you walk through this arcade of trees.

Groos says, “Our guests just love it.  From now until the end of December, you’ll be seeing guests just wandering through the building, taking pictures.”

There are 25 Christmas trees throughout the lobby, ranging from 9 to 1 2 feet.  They’re Norfolk Pines brought in from Michigan.  More than 500 Teddy Bears adorn the trees.

Reporter:  “You don’t want to worry about people walking away with these bears?”  Groos:  “These bears are like our pets. See they’re furry, nice and beautiful and they entertain a lot of children. So we just put a little extra in here to make sure they don’t walk away on us or get distracted and wander off in some other direction. That they’ll be with us the entire time so all the children can enjoy them.”

At night, the Royal Sonesta Hotel will be a sight to see.  Over 10,000 holiday lights will illuminate the wrought-iron balconies.

Groos says, “We flip that switch and vrrrrrooom it starts.”

If it’s anything like what you see on the inside, Christmas at the Royal Sonesta will be spectacular.

The holidays are in full swing; signs of Christmas are everywhere. From Santa mobbed by kids on the levee to decorated out streetcars, Summer time is long gone!

The weather has shifted, the lights are twinkling, and just to think all the daily festivities going on this month are just a click away.

“When you live here it’s easy to take the city for granted a little bit, and so what we do is we create really great excuses for people to come downtown,” says Marci Schramm, Executive Director for French Quarter Festivals, Inc.

For the 29th year French Quarter Festivals Incorporated is making it easy for you to kick back and soak it all in through ‘Christmas New Orleans Style.’ Their little book and website has it all. From reduced hotel rates to Reveillon Dinners at some of the best restaurants in town.

“It’s a fixed price dinner and there really is something for every budget. There’re some really fantastic lower prices and there are some that are really up there, but completely worth it.”

‘Christmas New Orleans Style’ also includes a list of daily events going on around town. Many of the events are free like concerts at the Cathedral Sunday through Thursday, to cooking demonstrations and light shows.

“As locals we are here and we see it every day, but it’s nice to remind ourselves that we live in such a special place and there’s just so much to do and the weather can’t be beat.”

For more information about Christmas New Orleans Style or French Quarter Festivals, Inc. visit or

To download a guide book click here or call 504.522.5730

The Windsor Court Hotel lit up its famous Christmas Tree Monday night.

WGNO’s “Wild Bill” Wood went to the hotel to get a preview of the ceremony.


Santa lands helicopter at Norco Parade

Bet you didn’t know Santa could fly like that! Here’s the Norco Holiday parade.

Reminder: Celebration in the Oaks opens the night after Thanksgiving, on November 29, 2013.

The 2013-2014 season: November 29 – January 4 (Closed: 12/24 and 12/31)
Sunday – Thursday: 6pm -10pm and Friday & Saturday: 6pm -11pm

Please visit for more information and to purchase tickets.

jacksquarelightsFrench Quarter Festivals, Inc. rings in the holiday season with the lighting of Jackson Square at 5:45pm and the first Christmas New Orleans Style Cathedral Concert performed by New Orleans Nightingales at the historic St. Louis Cathedral on Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 6:00pm. The event is open and free to public.

The New Orleans Nightingales, a diverse group of the best and brightest female singers in the city, bring new life to the musical traditions of early American music through new compositions and vibrant performances.

The Christmas New Orleans Style Cathedral Concert Series at the St. Louis Cathedral and the lighting of Jackson Square ring in the Christmas New Orleans Style season with local Christmas events for children and adults, Papa Noël hotel rates, and Reveillon dinners at acclaimed New Orleans restaurants.

For more information about Christmas New Orleans Style or French Quarter Festivals, Inc. visit or


It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas in NOLA

From turkey giveaways to holiday lights; even Santa. If you’re not feeling the holiday spirit maybe you should step outside.

“Oh yeah especially with the weather.  It’s beautiful outside, ” says Santa.

In Central City hundreds braved tge cold. They’re lining up for a free turkey and all the fixings courtesy Birdman.

“That’s really nice to me. I don’t know about anything else,  but to me. I tip my hat off to him,” says one resident.

“For them to come back for what 15 years, 17 years? This is a blessing to a lot of people in the community,” says another resident.

“It always feels good to come home to see family and friends and how far we have grown in the community and what we’re doing.  Words can’t explain how good it feels to get this spirit and this vibe,” says Birdman.

On Canal Street Christmas is in full swing. We are talking cookies, Santa, kids and lights.

“We’ve been circling to get here on time.  We did it,” exclaims a spectator from her car.

“To be here with our family and celebrating is just one of the of the New Orleans traditions that we love to carry on,” says a spectator.

The Downtown Development District flipped tge switch turning on more than one million twinkling lights on Canal Street.

Just blocks away the magic of this season also comes to life on Fulton Street. It’s where Saints Wide Receiver Joe Morgan did more than just spread holiday cheer.

“Given the fact that the team is doing really well,  that is a great Christmas gift.  We just got to continue that and get ready for going into the playoffs and trying to continue this all the way to the Superbowl,” says Morgan.

Talk of Superbowl, lights galore and a busy Santa working the crowd; can’t think of a better way to celebrate the season!