New Orleans, NOLA to its friends, likes a party as much as anywhere and New Years Eve is certainly no exception, Crowds and major events and parties will focus on the French Quarter in the earlier stages, but later in the evening many locals will head outside to watch the fireworks displays over the Mississippi River, with the iconic sight of the river harbour bridge offering a focal point for some of the most spectacular fireworks in the state.
It's a place I've been keen to visit for a number of years, the music and food scene really appeals to my tastes and i can only imagine that new years is a fantastic place to head there, with the streets likely to be absolutely buzzing with locals and visitors, who travel from miles around to be part of one of the liveliest new years eve parties you'll find anywhere.
The city's famous Jackson Square in the iconic French Quarter is a popular gathering point at midnight, as visitors and locals alike join together to celebrate the hew year's arrival and watch the fireworks displays that light up the city's skyline. Perhaps somewhat bizarrely, midnight is also marked by the lowering of a giant model of a baby, the Baby Bacchus from the roof of the Jackson Jax Brewery Bar, an interesting twist on the traditional ball drop.
New year 2017 will actually be the final outing for the current baby as the model is apparently somewhat the worse for wear after all these years. This doesn't mark the end of the tradition though, a competition is planned to design a new baby, which will then be made out of a more durable material!
The Jax Brewery event this year is called A NOLA New Years Eve 2016, is free and open to the public and includes live music by Luke Winslow King, Cyril Neville's Swamp Funk and special guest Big Chief Monk Boudreaux.
Throughout the evening the main party will be centred on Bourbon Street, also in the French Quarter and site of an almost bewildering array of bars, clubs and restaurants. This street is renowned as a party mecca and on new year's eve coach parties will arrive from hundreds of miles in every direction to join the party. Top recommended bars includes the famous Old Absinthe House and Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, which dates right back to 1722 and is reputed to be the oldest bar in the United States.
The New Orleans hotels of course also compete for their slice of the action, with one of the biggest events the now famous Big Night New Orleans at the Hyatt Regency, This premier gala event has open bars all night, international buffets and dance floors spread across multiple floors. Midnight is market with champagne and a huge balloon drop.
There is also typically a top new year's eve party in the French Quarter at Pat O's On The River, where they are have a premium location overlooking the Mississippi River with an incredible view of the fireworks, and also offer live DJ, special cocktails and an open bar - tickets here.
New Orleans always has plenty in the way of live music to offer on new year's eve, and 2016-2017 will be no exception. One big party to look out for is at the Joy Theater, while live music fans also have a treat in store with Better than Ezra playing live at the House of Blues - tickets here.
New Years Eve cruises on the Mississippi river are enduringly popular too, giving you fantastic views of both the city skyline and the river bridge. One boat offering this for NYE 2017 is the city's only remaining traditional river steamer, the Steamboat Natchez
There is also a very popular New Year's Eve Fireworks Cruise on board the Creole Queen Paddlewheeler, where the evening includes a live DJ, late night buffet, champagne and festive party favours - reserve your place for this party here.
For fans of American football if you don't have too much of a hangover there is also the Sugar Bowl to look forward to on new year's day, taking place at the city's iconic Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Places to watch live online, including live views from the French Quarter, and panoramic views of the Mississippi River and Bridge:
There is also an an excellent live stream on Bourbon Street courtesy of Earthcam, which takes you right to the heart of the party:
There is also often live coverage featured from New Orleans as one of the guest locations on the CNN show New Year's Eve Live, which is also available as an online stream.
If you're planning on visiting New Orleans over the New Year period, then early reservation is strongly recommend. You can search, check availability and book local hotels here.
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