What to do on a New Orleans Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving serves as a time to gather together to be completely humbled and thankful for all the blessings and benefits of the past year. This is often done over excellently prepared meals, so it stands to reason that there’s no better city to gather for the celebration than New Orleans, Louisiana, and thanks to this excellently compiled holiday resource from NewOrleans.com, you’ve never been in a better position to enjoy the Crescent City in all its bounty.

Before we give an overview of the food offerings in the city on the infamous Thursday for those of us wishing to take the day off, sit back, and enjoy the world-class cuisine of the various chefs and culinary artists found in the city, you should know about the various Thanksgiving Day activities that are available city-wide this autumnal holiday season.

Particular events that are positioned to be a large draw on Thanksgiving Day are the horse races at the Fair Groundsand the annual Turkey Day Race at Tad Gormley Stadium in City Park. Outside of athletic racing events, the New Orleans tourism site suggests digesting your Turkey Day meal with a carriage ride across the French Quarter so that you can learn about the elaborate history of the city. And of course, there are always plenty of movie theatres open throughout the city on Thanksgiving Day for those of us wanting to digest amidst amazing narratives and visuals.

However, if you prefer the holiday season that begins immediately following your Thanksgiving Meal, then you’ll be delighted to hear that Celebration in the Oaks will return to New Orleans City Park from 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM on Thursday the 25th, and it’s set to last until January 2, 2022- with tickets costing $35. This annual holiday festivity is always heralded as a must-see of the New Orleans holiday tradition, as this incredible, breathtaking holiday light show transforms the already beautiful grounds of City Park into 25 acres of dazzling lights and impressive festive displays. In total, the winter wonderland is spread throughout the Park, Botanical Garden, Storyland, and Carousel Gardens Amusement Park with millions of lights scattered throughout the 2.25-mile expanse.

Now it’s time for the food. On Thanksgiving, you’re essentially left with two options in New Orleans if you want to take the day off from cooking or organizing a family potluck: you can dine out or order catering from the many restaurants offering to do the cooking for you. If catering, some suggested favorites are Deanie’s Seafood, Mother’s, Brigtsen’s, Desi Vega’s Steakhouse, Blue Oak BBQ, Central City BBQ, and Cochon Butcher for your savory meals and Willa Jean, Bywater Bakery, Beth Biundo Sweets, Camellia Grill, La Boulangerie, and Levee Baking Co. for sweets.

Alternatively, if you’re planning to experience the classic and authentic New Orleans dining atmosphere, then you’re left with plenty of options for restaurants open in the city on Thanksgiving Day, leaving you more time to celebrate and less time coordinating, stressing, and planning.

It should definitely be noted that most of the city’s finer hotels offer excellent meals on Thanksgiving, but for those of us who want to enjoy a great meal “in-house,” then the following restaurants are set to be open on Thanksgiving and are recommended for a pleasant, decadent, and well-rounded experience.

Uptown/Garden District

Central Business District/ Downtown

The French Quarter

 Greater New Orleans Area

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Thanksgiving Roast Turkey

 

Last, but certainly not least, we will be featuring a scrumptious Turkey recipe for our final recipe before Thanksgiving. This amazing roasted Turkey is a crisp, clean way to serve your bird this year. The rosemary and sage seasoning are a light, fresh seasoning choice that really makes this dish.

If you have missed some of our other great side dishes, you can find them here or here. And don’t forget this delicious dessert that we posted about here.

We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving spent with friends and family.

Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 12-14 lb. whole turkey, neck, and giblets removed
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • Small handful of rosemary sprigs
  • 1 small handful sage leaves
  • 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
  • 1/2 c. melted butter
  • 2 c. chicken broth

DIRECTIONS

  1. Position rack to the lower third of your oven and preheat oven to 450°. Pat turkey dry with paper towels and season the cavity generously with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with onion, thyme, rosemary, sage and garlic. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wing tips under the body.
  2. Brush butter all over turkey then season generously with salt and pepper. Place turkey breast side up on a roasting rack inside of a large pan. Pour chicken broth into the pan. Transfer to oven and immediately reduce oven heat to 350°.
  3. Baste every 30 to 45 minutes with the juices on the bottom of the pan, and roast for 3 to 4 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh. (The meat temperature should be 165°).
  4. Cover cooked turkey with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.