Dixieland Santa Clause Leading the Band
Holidays New Orleans Style tourism campaign returns
No scrooge can stop us. We are comfortably in the holiday zone, when we can drink Cajun eggnog daiquiris and sing along when WWOZ plays Louis Armstrong’s “Christmastime in New Orleans.” Maybe we even have the radio locked in at Magic 101.9 for all of those holiday classics and Ronnie Lamarque’s dulcet Arabi accent.
New Orleans is special year-round, but it has a particular shine during the holidays. Our synagogues are ready to light the lights on their sculptural outdoor menorahs. The St. Charles mansions hire landscaping companies to install beautiful decorations built to scale. Citizens fill potholes with twinkle lights.
The tourism campaign and month-long celebration, Holidays New Orleans Style, capitalizes on that warm feeling of festive togetherness. It is the seasonal expression of the year-round campaign by New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC), “Leave with a story, not a souvenir.”
Building on the efforts of 2018, this year the campaign brings back a print and digitally-available holiday guide filled with details on holiday events and activities around town. The audience for the guide is both locals and tourists, as evidenced by Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s welcome letter that opens the guide.
“As you celebrate the holiday season with your family, neighbors and friends, remember all we have accomplished,” wrote Cantrell. “The energy of our city and her people is unmatched and the culture unparalleled. We invite you to experience every moment of it.”
The 78-page guide features the French Quarter Festival Inc. annual Concert Series with free concerts at St. Louis Cathedral and St. Augustine Church. It also provides details on events, Réveillon dinners and, in partnership with area hotels, the guide directs readers to discounted Papa Noël hotel room rates and special offers.
The Leave With a Story campaign’s well-crafted holiday tourism video that launched in 2018 remains timely. The narrator challenges us to find the “stories in what we do next.” Like the video says, our holidays are different. The images of levee bonfires, live oaks wrapped in white lights viewed from a streetcar, Réveillon dinner and City Park’s Celebration in the Oaks bring that difference to the viewer.
The campaign incorporates a special subdomain to the neworleans.com website. Visiting holiday.neworelans.com is another way to find information on the season’s happenings, including holiday home tours, caroling and cocktail recipes. It touts 141 authentic seasonal events and 72 participating restaurants and bars.
Of course, social media is being used as well, with holiday information and images filling the Visit New Orleans Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.
The timing of the holiday campaign follows two significant accolades. In October, TripAdvisor named New Orleans “Most Excellent City Overall” and Condé Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Awards 2019 named New Orleans the No. 4 “Best Large City in the Country.” Last year, Travel + Leisure said the best time to visit New Orleans during the off season (non-Mardi Gras) is in the winter, citing deals on flights and hotels, as well as the holiday decorations.