January in New Orleans is unlike anywhere else in the world: while most are seeing the end of the holidays, we roll from one celebration to the next with the start of Carnival season on January 6. Although Mardi Gras will look different this year, some of the same traditions will be honored. Indulge in a king cake, catch a live album recording and check out how we’re celebrating Mardi Gras reimagined. Here are 10 things to do this January in New Orleans.
Ring in the New Year, New Orleans-style with WWOZ’s Festing in Place: Happy New Year from NOLA. Tune into WWOZ beginning on New Year’s Eve for performances from Aaron Neville, Irma Thomas, Dr. John and more local greats. Then, from January 1-3, enjoy classic and recent performances from New Orleans music festivals, clubs and WWOZ studio sets.
January 6 marks the official start to the Mardi Gras season, which lasts this year through February 16. It’s considered by some bad luck to eat king cake out of season, but luckily for you most of January is in the clear and we couldn’t be more excited to finally indulge in our favorite seasonal treat. Check out some of our favorite king cakes from last year here, then prepare to welcome a different kind of Carnival season with a slice on the 6th.
One of the best things about New Orleans in the winter is that it never gets too cold. Currently, outdoor live music is permitted so long as patrons remain masked and socially distanced from others. Check out the Krewe of Red Beans’ live performance series featuring Amigos de Samba on January 2 and Jose Fermin & merengue 4 on January 9, both at Zony Mash Beer Project. The series will culminate in an album in support of the musicians that make Lundi Gras magical.
One year ago, Valerie McMillan founded The Ohm Well as the first yoga studio in Gentilly, catering to the community with a series of classes for the mind, body and spirit. Come celebrate the studio’s first anniversary with free outdoor yoga, local vendors, giveaways and more this January 31, 2021 from 6-8 p.m at 2161 Milton St.
Say your New Year’s resolution was to get back into shape? Start small with a walk or bike ride on the Greenway. The Lafitte Greenway is a 2.6-mile linear park stretching from Mid-City all the way to downtown New Orleans, offering a trail dotted with restaurants, greenspaces and exercise programming along the way. Stop by Lafitte Greenway Plaza, a new pedestrian plaza with public art, landscaping, stormwater management infrastructure, farmers markets and more.
Go off-the-beaten-path this January and take some time to discover new museums and attractions. Catch a movie or performance at the Broadside, a new outdoor theater, or head to Studio BE to see the larger-than-life creations of local artist B-mike. Most of these attractions cost just a few dollars to visit and are a great option for an afternoon in New Orleans. Be sure to book your tickets in advance.
The Mardi Gras season will look different this year, but it’s a celebration nonetheless. Krewes are adapting to offer socially-distanced scavenger hunts in lieu of parades, like Funky Uptown Krewe’s January 6 scavenger hunt in Uptown New Orleans. Driving around New Orleans in January, you’ll begin to see a new phenomenon popping up – locals will be dressing their homes in purple, green and gold to participate in the Krewe of House Floats. King cakes will be in abundance as the Carnival season kicks off on January 6.
For the nights that do get a little chilly, don’t fret – plenty of restaurants have added heaters to their outdoor dining setup. Enjoy Mediterranean food at Saba in Uptown, or Spanish food at Lola’s in Mid-City. There’s the Half-Shell on the Bayou for those of you craving oysters, and Bacchanal’s spacious courtyard in the Bywater. Make plans to dine outdoors comfortably this January in New Orleans.
As an official satellite partner, New Orleans Film Society is bringing the 2021 Sundance Film Festival to New Orleans. From January 28-February 3, explore an array of new and independent films outdoors at The Broadside. Stay tuned for information on the lineup at what to expect at Sundance in New Orleans.
Supporting local musicians has never been more important, and January would typically be a month full of performances for the LPO. Participate in Suite Sundays, a series extending through January in which a musician will personally deliver goodies to your home. A link will be provided to enjoy a virtual concert after your delivery is made.