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December Social Calendar

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Margarita Bergen’s Living It Up!

November 25-January 4
Holiday Musical with the Victory Belles
Enjoy this singing trio as they ring in the holiday the most treasured songs of the season in this unforgettable musical at the Stage Door Canteen at the National WWII Museum. Matinees and evening include delightful dining by Chef John Besh. For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.stagedoorcanteen.org or call (504) 528-1943.

November 27-December 24
Singing Santa and the Riverwalk Jazz Band
Singing Santa and the Riverwalk Jazz Band stroll the Riverwalk Marketplace playing holiday favorites and Dixieland jazz. For more information on performance times visit riverwalkmarketplace.com or call (504) 522-1555.

December 1
6th Annual Lighting of the Balconies
Kick-off the holiday season at The Royal Sonesta Hotel in the French Quarter at the 6th Annual Lighting of the Balconies at 6 p.m. Thousands of twinkling lights will illuminate the hotel’s elaborate wrought-iron balconies. Gospel choir performances will lift your spirit as holiday characters come to life. Members of the New Orleans Saintsations lead this unique celebration. Free and open to the public.

December 1
“You Can Ring Our Bell” Christmas Kick-off Party
With the help of Dickie Brennan, The Salvation Army will be hosting a benefit to raise money for the Christmas Emerge program. The benefit will feature live and silent auctions, food, cocktails and music at Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House Seafood and Oyster Bar from 6 to 9 p.m. $70 per ticket. (504) 899-4569, extension 317.

December 1-21
Christmas New Orleans Style Concerts
These free concerts take place at St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square, in the French Quarter. Concerts begin at 6 p.m. For exact dates and more information, visit www.fqfi.org.

December 2, 9
Holiday Movies on the Mississippi
The Downtown Development District and the Riverwalk Marketplace present Elf and The Year Without a Santa Claus on a 26-foot inflatable outdoor screen. 6:30 p.m. at Riverwalk’s Spanish Plaza. (504) 522-1555.

December 2-23
Chef’s Holiday Cooking Demonstrations
Demonstrations take place at the French Market Stage located at 1008 N. Peters St. These acclaimed artisans share their favorite recipes and samplings that are guaranteed to spice up your holidays. These events are free and begin at 2 p.m. Space is limited, so get there early. For details and exact dates, visit www.fqfi.org.

December 3
Algiers’ Holiday Festival and Bonfire
This year’s free festivities include the burning of the art installation, FLOODWALL, to commemorate the events of Hurricane Katrina. 5 to 9 p.m. at the levee adjacent to the ferry terminal. www.algierseconomic.com

December 3
Art Against AIDS Gala
NO/AIDS Task Force will present the 25th annual Art Against AIDS Art Auction and Holiday Gala at The New Orleans Museum of Art with the theme “25 Years of Art, 25 Years of Hope” from 8 p.m. to midnight. The Patron Party and Auction Preview will be from 6 to 8 p.m. on November 30th at the Arthur Roger Gallery. Tickets to Art Against AIDS will be available at the door the night of the event, but can also be purchased by calling (504) 821-2601, or at www.noaidstaskforce.com. Gala tickets are $60 and Patron tickets begin at $200.

December 3
French Market Annual Christmas Parade & St. Nicholas Day Fair
Enjoy a free afternoon of free kids’ activities and crafts, retail specials, live music and pictures with Saint Nicholas at the French Market. The annual Christmas parade, sponsored by Downtown Development District, goes down Canal Street, with a special French Market parade heading down Decatur Street to the French Market afterwards. 12 to 5 p.m. at Dutch Alley at the French Market, between Decatur and the River. (504) 522-2621. www.frenchmarket.org

December 3
Krewe of Jingle Parade
New Orleans’ official holiday paradewill once again delight locals and visitors alike with authentic parade floats, marching bands, stilt-walkers, and Christmas characters. Afterwards, all are invited to The Roosevelt New Orleans Hotel for the “Jingle Mingle”, a party that will transform the block into a wonderful wintery wonderland featuring music, games, food, crafts and more.

December 3
Annual Christmas Bonfire Party at Oak Alley Plantation
This event is held in an open house outdoor format. Arriving guests are greetedby a brass quintet leading to a bonfire. There’s a Creole buffet in a formal dining room, chef-style stations around the veranda, premium bars and a live band for dancing. 7 p.m. to midnight. $125 per person. Oak Alley Plantation, 3645 Hwy. 18, Vacherie. For more information, call (225) 265-2151 or visit www.oakalleyplantation.com.

December 3
Creole Queen’s Cajun Holiday Tea with Papa Noel
The enchanting book, The Cajun Night Before Christmas, will come to life this holiday season aboard the Creole Queen Paddlewheeler at a very special Cajun Children’s Holiday Tea on Saturday, December 3, 10 and 17 featuring Papa Noel, the Cajun Gingerbread Boy, Gaston the Gator and other jolly holiday characters. Enjoy storytelling, children’s activities, and the opportunity to hold a real live alligator! Guests board the Creole Queen at 1:30 p.m. at the foot of Poydras Street at Riverwalk, and cruise the mighty Mississippi River from 2 to 3:30 p.m. $49 for adults and $34 for children under 12 years of age. Reservations are required by calling (504) 529-4567 or visiting www.creolequeen.com.

December 3-23
Celebration in the Oaks
City Park’s annual holiday lighting exhibit and festival returns with one of the most beautiful holiday light exhibits in the country. This New Orleans tradition features The Cajun Night Before Christmas, dancing lights, a new nativity scene, photo with Santa and musical laser show. Fridays and Saturdays, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday through Thursday, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. $7 per person, children under 3 and Friends of City Park enter free. New Orleans Botanical Garden in City Park. (504) 483-9415. www.celebrationintheoaks.com

Dec 3, 10 & 17
Christmas Concert Series at St. Augustine Church
New this year is a series of concerts at St. Augustine, the oldest African-American Catholic Church in the United States. The free concerts start at 4 p.m. Complimentary parking is available at Henriette Delille St. (formerly St. Claude Street).

December 5
Galatoire’s 6th Annual Christmas Auction
Join Galatoire’s for its auction benefiting the Galatoire Foundation, Crimestoppers, and Raintree Children’s Service at 6:30 p.m. to bid on a reserved table for Friday, December 23. Cocktails and hors d’ oeuvres by Chef Michael Sichel. RSVP required. Contact Chris Broussard at (504) 525-6022 for more info.

December 7
Round Table Luncheon
The popular monthly luncheon is hosted by yours truly at noon at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, featuringa champagne tasting hosted by Republic Beverages with Lisa Tull and Food Goddess, Lorin Gaudin. The exotic cabaret singer Suzaune Yee-McKamey will be accompanied on the piano by Jim Walpole. The three-course gourmet luncheon is $42 and includes complimentary parking and wines. For reservations, call Noel Scallan at (504) 553-2220.

December 8
Just Say YA/YA 2011
Charmaine Neville performs at the Young Aspirations/Young Artists annual holiday art sale and patron party, hosted at Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, 1380 Port of New Orleans Place. Call (504) 529-3306 for more information.

December 8
Mahalia Jackson Centennial Plus One Celebration
Honoring Mahalia Jackson’s 100th birthday and the first anniversary of the Mahalia Jackson Center, the evening will include cocktails, dancing and a special performance by Irma Thomas. The fundraiser, which benefits Early Childhood & Family Foundation and the Mahalia Jackson Center, will be held from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at First NBC Bank Lobby, 210 Baronne Street. For information, call (504) 523-1193.

December 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27 & 29
Holiday Tea and Tour At Longue Vue House and Gardens
Come celebrate the season at a Holiday Tea! Tour the festively decorated house. Toast the holidays with a complimentary glass of champagne, savor tea with friends, enjoy seasonal sounds, and find the perfect gift at The Shop at Longue Vue. 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Reservations are required and seating is limited. Call (504) 293-4701 or ajones@longuevue.com for more details.

December 9
Renaissance Party
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society invites you to experience an evening of fine food, drink, entertainment, artwork and incredible auction packages at the Renaissance Arts Hotel. Proceeds benefit efforts to mobilize people, research for a cure and to address the challenge of everyone affected by MS. Entertainment provided by Louisiana Spice. $150 per ticket and $100 per ticket for participants under 35. For more information, call (504) 322-3790.

December 10
Cornette Gala
The Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans’ Cornette Gala is an event designed to raise funds to provide health care services to the underserved. First NBC Bank, 210 Baronne Street. $100 per ticket; $150 per patron ticket. Call (504) 212-9519 for more details.

December 10-11
36th Annual Holiday Home Tour
The Preservation Resource Center’s annual event is a self-guided tour through seven, holiday-decorated Garden District homes, a holiday boutique and café at Trinity Episcopal Church. $30 per ticket for PRC members; $35 per ticket for non-members. Contact: (504) 581-7032.

December 14
Fête De Nöel
The Ladies Leukemia League will once again host its annual luncheon and fashion show at noon at the New Orleans Hilton Riverside. $65 per ticket, with tables from $650 to $1,000. Call (985) 703-0831 for more details.

December 15 & 16
Baroque Christmas: Handel and Bach with LPO
The Symphony Chorus of New Orleans and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra present its annual Christmas concert at 7:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in New Orleans, and on December 16 at the First Baptist Church in Covington. For details, call (504) 525-2111 or visit www.symphonychorus.org

December 16-23
Royal Teddy Bear Tea
Treat your family to a New Orleans tradition with a Royal Teddy Bear Tea experience at the Royal Sonesta Hotel. Your children can dance with the Royal Teddy Bear, sing along with Rudolph and friends, meet the New Orleans Saintsations, and enjoy story time with Mrs. Claus at the Royal Kingdom. Word has it that Santa himself will make an appearance! For reservations or details on seating times, call the Holiday Desk at (504) 553-2328.

December 17
Countdown to New Orleans Running of the Santas
One of the largest Christmas events in the country is coming to New Orleans this holiday season: Running of the Santas, from noon to midnight, in the city’s historic Warehouse District. This daylong festival will include three stages involving several restaurants and bars in the area. Activities at Stage Two commence at 3 p.m. at the “South Pole”, which will be set up at Ernst Café, followed by a fun run starting at South Peters and Lafayette Streets at 6 p.m. Runners and crawlers will make their way to the “North Pole” set up at Generations Hall at 310 Andrew Higgins Drive. Category 6, New Orleans’ newest party band, will provide entertainment at Generations Hall ’til midnight. Advance VIP tickets start at $35 and general admission tickets start at $15. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the That Others May Live Foundation, which provides scholarships, family counseling, and aid to surviving children of United States Air Force Rescue heroes. For more information, contact Steve Schulkens at (504) 401-6990 oremail him at steve@schulkens.com, or visit www.runningofthesantas.com/new-orleans.

December 17
St. Louis Cathedral Basilica Annual Christmas Concert
The mission of this extraordinary choir is to present affordable, live concerts in spiritual venues featuring world-class musicians, and the finest repertoire of sacred and classical music, for the cultural enrichment, education and enjoyment of its audiences. 5 p.m. St. Louis Cathedral Church. (504) 522-5730

December 18
Patio Planters Presents Holiday Home Tours
Savor the holiday spirit and tour lovely French Quarter residences dressed for the season in a self-guided walking tour from 1 to 4 p.m. Tickets available at 533 St. Ann St. and 527 St. Phillip St.

December 18
Caroling in Jackson Square
Join in a truly moving 65-year-old tradition as Jackson Square brims with candlelit faces and song-lit spirits as high as the spires of the St. Louis Cathedral. Candles and song sheets provided. Free. Gates open at 6:30 p.m., caroling begins at 7 p.m. Call (504) 523-7047 or visit www.patioplanters.org for more details.

December 20-24
Circle Dreams Holidaze
Watch an international cast of over 30 multi-talented and brilliantly costumed artists comes to live and perform astonishing feats of disbeliefs at 8 p.m. at Mahalia Jackson Theatre. www.broadwayinneworleans.com

December 22
Chanukah at Riverwalk
Enjoy Chanukah celebrations at the Riverwalk Marketplace from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. with traditional Israeli music, dancing, food and the lighting of the 12-foot menorah. 1 Poydras St. www.riverwalkmarketplace.com

December 23
Home for the Holidays
The NOCCA Institute’s Home for the Holidays is a spectacular night of art and music benefitting the Daniel Price Memorial Fund for Aspiring Artists. Hosted at the House of Blues, local music legends Irma Thomas, Kermit Ruffins and Trombone Shorty will perform. The fund provides scholarships for outstanding visual arts and music students. Tickets start at $35. 225 Decatur St. (504) 310-4999.

December 24
Preservation Hall Presents A Creole Christmas
Join Preservation Hall for a Creole Christmas featuring Lars Edegran, Big Al Carson, Topsy Chapman, and the St. Peter Allstars. First Concert starts at 2:30 p.m. and second at 4:15 p.m. 726 St. Peter Street. (504) 522-2841

December 31
A NOLA New Year’s Eve
The Crescent City Countdown Club will present the traditional New Year’s Eve festivities in the French Quarter, including live local music and a gumbo pot drop to launch the midnight fireworks over the mighty Mississippi River. 9 p.m. Jackson Square, French Quarter. www.crescentcitycountdown.com

December 31
New Year’s Eve Gala on the Steamboat Natchez
Midnight aboard the Steamboat Natchez on the Mississippi River is unforgettable. Revel in delicious holiday food, party favors, live entertainment and the most unique view for the community-sponsored fireworks. 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. at Toulouse St. and Mississippi River. Call (504) 569-1401 for reservations.

January 2-3
Allstate Sugar Bowl Fan Fest
Don’t miss the excitement of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Championship Fan Fest, which include fun interactive activities and concerts each evening.12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Adjacent to JAX Brewery at the intersection of Decatur and St. Louis Street.