by Kevin Allman
New Orleans gets its first holiday procession in 15 years this Saturday, when the Downtown Development District will present a Christmas-themed parade down Canal Street, followed by a free outdoor concert:
The parade, which will begin at 10:00 a.m., will roll from Convention Center Boulevard up Canal Street to Robertson Street (near Claiborne Avenue) and back to its starting point. It will be followed by an all-star outdoor concert beginning at 12 noon at Elk Place. Entertainers include Jeremy Davenport, Rockin Dopsie, Jr., jazz trumpeter Marlon Jordan and vocalist Stephanie Jordan, the Batiste Brothers, Rebirth Brass Band, Amanda Shaw and James Andrews.
Lauren Hotard, marketing director for the DDD, said today that Mr. Bingle will be front and center on his own float. "He's 30 feet long and 16 feet wide. He's going to pause near his old stomping grounds [the site of the former Maison Blanche] for people to take pictures, then he will go back to City Park for Celebration in the Oaks."
Staging the concert on Elk Place at Canal, according to Hotard, was a deliberate decision: "We're trying to bring life to all of Canal Street, not just the places people already go [to shop]."
The DDD plans to make the parade (which doesn't seem to have an official name yet) an annual event, says Hotard: "We actually have a 3-year deal with the Roosevelt Hotel to be the title sponsor." The Roosevelt (formerly the Fairmont, formerly-formerly the Roosevelt) opens its doors next June.
Since New Orleans loves its traditions, we had to ask: Will the Roosevelt's Christmas spirit extend to bringing back the Fairmont's much-lamented Angel Hair Lobby in 2009?
"Yes!" said Hotard.