New Orleans has many reasons to be thankful. Live Oaks, Mardi Gras Indians, constant live music, historic architecture, and world-renowned craft cocktails to name just a few. But the city is especially grateful come the third week in November. Then, New Orleans’ homes and restaurants fill with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving. When it comes to a bountiful meal, New Orleans does it right.
After spending the holiday in New Orleans, you’ll walk away with at least one new dish to add to your traditional meal. We’ve even managed to jazz up the turkey, putting a New Orleans spin on the traditional holiday bird. One option is a deep-fried turkey. Sound decadent? It is. But on a day devoted to eating as much delicious food as possible, why not go the extra mile in indulgence? Another option is the turducken – a legendary New Orleans Thanksgiving dish. Eclectic and excessive, this Cajun creation cooks a boneless chicken breast inside of a boneless duck breast inside of a turkey. Take our word for it – take one bite and you’ll be hooked. And if you find yourself craving the creation for future holiday meals, you’re in luck – many companies will ship turduckens nationwide. Traditional stuffing is tasty, but in New Orleans we add a little cornbread, Creole pork, oyster, shrimp, or crawfish. New Orleans holiday cooking is creative and delicious, making our Thanksgiving staples anything but ordinary.
The best home away from home on this holiday is New Orleans. No city cares more about good eating, after all.
Many of the city’s finest restaurants stay open for Thanksgiving dinners, so you can kick back with family and friends and enjoy each other’s company while someone else does all the cooking. Most hotels offer turkey dinners as well, so you’ll be sure to find a great meal somewhere in the city. Make sure you check ahead to see which restaurants are open and what the hours will be. Some of them have separate seatings. Make reservations. Check with your hotel guide, concierge or cab driver for recommendations and call a few. You will find a meal that will make you say, “Happy Thanksgiving, New Orleans.”
There are plenty of places that offer Thanksgiving catering if you would rather eat on your own terms or if you are in town as someone's guest and want to contribute a dish. Be sure to place an order in advance as many places have deadlines. Some of our favorites include Brigtsen's, Mother's, Deanie's Seafood, Desi Vega's Steakhouse, Blue Oak BBQ, Central City BBQ, Cochon Butcher, Willa Jean (especially for pies) and you can't go wrong with a fried turkey from Popeye's. For sweets, we love La Boulangerie, Levee Baking Co., Bywater Bakery, Beth Biundo Sweets and Camellia Grill. Check out local grocery stores such as Rouse's and Langenstein's for other options as well.
The horse races at the Fair Grounds are a big draw on Thanksgiving day. Place some bets and have some fun! A casino is also located on the property. Work up an appetite at the annual Turkey Day Race at Tad Gormley Stadium in City Park. Since many big sporting events take place on that Thursday as well, head to a local sports bar to cheer on your team. Call in advance to check their hours. After you eat, wander the French Quarter or take a carriage ride to learn about the history. Also, many movie theaters are open Thanksgiving day.