Christmas is usually associated with snowy weather. Why do you believe that New Orleans could be a Christmas destination?
Christmas New Orleans Style was founded 29 years ago, and it started because tourism in New Orleans was terrible during December, so a group of tourism industry people got together and decided that no one outside the city knew how great this place could be in December between the weather and all the things to do. Christmas New Orleans Style was born out of the city feeling the need to tell the world what a great place this is to visit over the holidays.
How did the St. Louis Cathedral Concert Series come together?
Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral are the heart of the French Quarter, and the Cathedral is such an iconic building and such a special place. Our organization thought—“What better venue to produce an eclectic and interesting mix of music?” The folks at the Cathedral are great partners, friends, and collaborators, so they were very open to it.
How did you choose the artists to perform at the series?
People who don’t know about the concerts might think it’s just classical music, but we’ve got a great mix of gospel, opera, jazz, and blues. Our entertainment director [Greg Schatz] really tries to find local music that is interesting and unusual but also appropriate for the Cathedral. We have everything from opera to the Roots of Music brass band to Amanda Shaw. We want to keep things fresh and mix it up.
What is your favorite memory of Christmas in New Orleans?
Every year, I go to Caroling in the Square. So many locals go to it, so it’s like a reunion with friends. Events like that tie into what I love about New Orleans. It’s still such a social city. People still talk to each other and enjoy each other and get to know their neighbors. New Orleanians are so open and make this such a friendly city, which is what the holidays are all about.
What is your favorite rendition of a Christmas song by a New Orleans artist?
It’s tough to decide, but I’d say “All I Want for Christmas is the Saints in the Super Bowl” by Kermit Ruffins.