NYE On Bourbon Street Followed By The Sugar Bowl
New Orleans and New Year’s Eve go together like rum and red drinks.
In fact, it’s often difficult to tell New Year’s Eve from any other day of the week on Bourbon Street.
That is, unless one has been to Bourbon Street on New Year’s Eve.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Fireworks In Jackson Square
About 11, wander over to Jackson Square. Be sure and stop at a store for a 6-pack or grab a big drink to go on Bourbon Street.
There’s a stage with a band and thousands of people crowded into the area. Squeeze in, find some elbow room and make some new friends.
At about 11:30, the atmosphere becomes filled with excitement and the next thing you know the ball drops from Jax Brewery and there are fireworks across the Mississippi.
Then it’s back to Bourbon Street!
Bourbon Street & The Bars
It may seem as obvious as drinking a Hurricane, but the party is all up and down Bourbon Street. The major madness is around the Cat’s Meow. This is where the packed balconies peak and girls trade peeks of breasts for beads.
The most popular bar is Pat O’Brien’s. By 11, the line stretches around the block, so if you want to go in, go early (say by 9). The best place to party in Pat O’Brien’s is the back outdoor patio.
At midnight, much of the crowd shuffles over to Jackson Square about 10 minutes away. This is where a ball drops. Don’t worry about missing anything on Bourbon Street – there is no official time for bars to close in this city, so hearty partiers can go all night.
The real beauty of Bourbon is it’s openness. Drinking is permitted in the street – that’s the case everywhere in the French Quarter – and there are dozens of places to purchase all manner of alcohol. This includes not only bars but small stores with a counter that serves frozen drinks, jello shots and cheap beer. There’s live music everywhere, from jazz to rock to zyedeco.
Then it’s walking up and down the street, stopping along the way to meet other revelers and traveling in and out of the various bars.
Those bars include the aforementioned Pat O’Brien’s, home of the rum-filled Hurricane; Tropical Isle, renowned for the hand grenade (“New Orleans’ strongest drink!” it proudly proclaims); the Big Bad Wolfe with rock ‘n roll bands and for the young at heart with a dancing pulse Cat’s Meow; Razzoo and Bourbon Street Blues.
There are more bars down the many side streets. Among them are the Shim Sham Club, which is where locals love to go to dance; the Gold Mine with it’s Flaming Dr. Pepper drink and the appropriately named Dungeon.
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Cafe serves up cheeseburgers and cold draft beer near the French Market and New Orleans veterans always make a stop at Tipitina’s.
There are two Tipitina’s locations: the one at 233 N. Peters is the original and the one on Decatur Street is only open when bands are playing. Tipitina’s generally hosts wildly popular local bands such as The Radiators and The Neville Brothers which have an almost cult following.
The Sugar Bowl & New Year’s Day Party Scene
Revelers from both teams are all over the French Quarter for days leading up to the game. The 2016 Sugar Bowl is Friday Jan. 1, at 7:30 p.m. It does not play a part in the championship this year, however.
Still, presence of fans adds to the intensity of New Orleans on NYE.