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Starting a new New Orleans Thanksgiving Tradition

While is under construction, our articles can be found here on our sister site, Nola Family. 

by Nola Boomers Staff, November 2018

Thanksgiving is the beginning of a long – and for many, often stressful – holiday season.

The pressure to have an amazing Norman Rockwell-esque family get-together can overwhelm the best of us. Add to that the increased stress that many extended families have experienced with the ratcheting-up of political opinions, and well, you can imagine the allure of turning off the oven and bolting out the front door!

Whatever your reason for forgoing the traditional home-cooked turkey, we gathered some great reasons for not turning on the oven this Thanksgiving!


Thanksgiving Table D’Hôte at Arnaud’s Restaurant, 813 Rue Bienville St., French Quarter.
Arnaud’s offers a prix fixe dinner on Thanksgiving Day in a historic setting. Enjoy all the traditional Thanksgiving fare (and pork or fish options as well) with a Creole twist. $55. Reservations required, 504.523.5433.


Commander’s Palace, 1403 Washington Ave., Uptown.
Known for their special ‘Locals Only’ Thanksgiving dinner, their regular menu will be available (yum!) as well as more traditional Thanksgiving fare. Enjoy! Reservations required, 504.899.8221.



Ralph’s on the Park, 900 City Park Ave., New Orleans.
Don’t feel like cooking this year? Spend the holiday with a view of City Park enjoying a decadent three-course Thanksgiving feast, and maybe enjoy a new Thanksgiving tradition with turtle soup or blue crab beignets! $56 There’s even a special menu for kids, $25. Reservations required, 504.488.1000.


Now, these are just three classic restaurants known for their Thanksgiving meals, but as more and more people are seeing the benefits of dining-out on Thanksgiving Day, the options have grown! Expect 30 or more restaurants to be serving this Thanksgiving- but make reservations early! For a full list of restaurants open, click here.



The Fair Grounds Race Course,1751 Gentilly Blvd., Mid-City.
Ok- if you haven’t ‘done’ the Fair Grounds on Thanksgiving Day, you’re missing a classic New Orleans tradition. You get the best of both worlds, fabulous clubhouse dining so you don’t miss your meal, andit’s the traditional opening day at the races (though the Fair Grounds will open on Nov. 15 this year). They also offer a walk-up buffet for those that prefer casual dining with the typical fixings. Post Time on Thanksgiving Day is 11AM with the last race around 3pm.  Admission is free for the first 3 floors and $10 for the clubhouse. If you want to dine in the clubhouse, reservations are required! Call  504.943.2200.

New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons, Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Saints Football!!! Be there for our most intense rivalry– and let’s roast a Falcon on Thanksgiving Day!  Saints are predicted to win, of course. What a great way to end the day!  Kickoff at 7:20 pm.



Celebration in the Oaks, City Park, 1 Palm Drive, New Orleans.
This is another no-miss New Orleans tradition that continues to get better! Our historic park’s oaks are swathed in hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights and riding the train through the park is a time-honored tradition for many. Although it opens for the holiday the day after Thanksgiving, we still have to count it! Traditions are traditions.



New Orleans Mission Food Bank and Shelter, 1134 Baronne St., CBD.
Volunteers are needed to help serve food, hand out toys and help with other aspects of the event. This volunteer opportunity is something that very well may be ‘filled up’ by the time you read this, but don’t let it discourage you. Find another time, or do your own giving on Thanksgiving. Volunteers are asked to pre-register online.


Sheriff’s Thanksgiving Dinner Celebration, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, CBD.
Hosted by Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin N. Gusman. This annual Thanksgiving Day dinner for the public needs volunteers to serve food, clean tables and work other aspects of the event. Volunteers are asked to pre-register online.  


And finally, if you do choose to have Thanksgiving at home, let us suggest a new tradition that brings you (and your marvelous dinner) into the community. Instead of stuffing all your leftovers into the fridge–to later be stuffed into you again–make plates (or containers) of dinner to-go. Then jump in your car and find somebody who looks like they could use some yummy food and a hug and give them both. Enjoy the spirit of giving thanks.   


New Orleans Athletic Club’s 111th Annual Turkey Day Race, 5400 Stadium Dr., New Orleans.
The 5-mile course starts at Tad Gormley Stadium and follows a path that winds through New Orleans City Park, finishing on the stadium’s track. A kids’ half mile event also starts and finishes at the same location. Ticket prices vary depending on registration date. Race start at 8:30 am ( 8:35 for kids), so it’s a good way to burn off the  calories you’ll enjoy later!


Tammany Turkey Trot, St. Tammany Municipal Justice Center, Covington.
The Inaugural Tammany Turkey Trot will be held in downtown Covington, starting and ending at the Courthouse. Benefitting the Northshore Food Bank, there will be a 5K and 5-mile race at 8:30 am.

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