By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor
The new decade is fast approaching and with it comes Baylor football’s Sugar Bowl matchup against Georgia on Jan. 1.
It’s no secret that New Orleans is a colorful melting pot of food, music and fun. With parties, celebrations and fireworks on both sides of the Mississippi River, there is a lot in store for locals and visitors alike. So if you’re spending the week rooting for the Bears in the Crescent City, here’s a list of places and what to do to experience New Year’s Eve Big Easy-style.
Easy options for your taste buds:
Cafe Beignet: You can’t leave Louisiana without trying one of these heavenly, sugary pillows of powdery goodness. With four locations in the French Quarter, Cafe Beignet has boasted some of the best beignets and Chicory coffee in the city since 1990. Each location has outdoor seating so you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the Quarter while you enjoy some classic New Orleans dishes. Everything on the menu is under $20, so that’s a bonus.
St. Peters location: 714 St. Peters St., Open from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Decatur location: 600 Decatur St., Open 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Bourbon location: 311 Bourbon St., Open 8 a.m. – midnight
Royal location (the original Cafe Beignet): 334 Royal St., Open 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Daisy Dukes: With several locations around the city, Daisy Dukes is the place to go for some uncomplicated Cajun selection during breakfast, lunch and dinner. The French Quarter and Express locations are open 24/7 on the weekends and also offer delivery if you don’t feel like leaving your hotel room until game time.
French Quarter location: 121 Chartres St., Open 24/7 Friday – Sunday,
6 a.m.-11p.m. Monday – Thursday
Get ready for some Sugar Bowl fun:
Allstate Sugar Bowl New Year’s Eve Parade: No one throws a parade like the Cajuns do! Kick off the Sugar Bowl celebration at this Mardi Gras-style parade. The fun starts on the corner of Decatur Street and Elysian Fields Avenue where the floats, bands and other participants will line up prior to the 2 p.m. start. Making its way through the French Quarter along the Mississippi River, the parade will pass by several of the Big Easy’s iconic landmarks, including the Old U.S. Mint, the French Market, Cafe du Monde and Jackson Square before wrapping up at Canal Street.
Start: Elysian Fields Avenue and Decatur Street at (approximately) 2 p.m. on Dec. 31
End: Canal Street near the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
Baylor Football Fan Fest Pep Rally: As part of the Allstate Fan Fest (which partners up with Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, but more on that later) the Bears will hold a pep rally to get Baylor fans pumped up for the game. The pep rally will be held adjacent to Jax Brewery on North Peters Street in the French Quarter.
Where: 418 North Peters St.
When: 4 p.m. Dec. 31
Allstate Fan Fest and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve: In its 14th year, the Allstate Fan Fest will partner with the popular New Year’s Eve show hosted by Ryan Seacrest, Lucy Hale and Billy Porter. Porter will host the Central Time Zone Countdown and will be joined by a variety of guests throughout the night.
Fan Fest hosts a variety of activities, starting at 11 a.m., including a photo-sharable mural, the parade and the pep rallies for both the Bears and the Bulldogs. This year’s musical lineup is headlined by Usher and Shery Crow.
The best part: it’s entirely free. You just have to get there early enough to grab a good spot.
Where: the Jax Brewery parking lot off Decatur Street
11 a.m: Fan Fest opens with access to the interactive photo mural
8: 30 p.m: Sheryl Crow performs
10:30 p.m: Usher performs
Midnight: Fan Fest ends with the NYRE Central Time Zone Countdown into 2020
For the Family:
Zoo Year’s Eve: There’s a countdown to noon at the Audubon Zoo. It’s open to everyone with a zoo admission, and it’s a great way to celebrate with the family at a more reasonable hour.
Where: Audubon Zoo
When: 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 31
Noon Year’s Eve at the LCM: With bubble, bells and beach balls, even the littlest Bear fans can celebrate New Year’s Eve at the Louisiana Children’s Museum. The event will include a brass band, face painting and other fun activities.
Tickets are $20 and must be purchased in advance.
Where: Louisiana Children’s Museum Event Lawn
When: 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Dec. 31
New Year’s in Old Algiers: If you want something more relaxed than the French Quarter, Algiers Point is the spot. With a myriad of activities, the Algiers Tricentennial Committee will be commemorating 300 years since the founding of Old Algiers. There will also be a Site of Memory dedication at 3 p.m. in front of the courthouse, marking the arrival of the African slave ships that arrived in Algiers in 1722. Enjoy an afternoon of entertainment, food and more before picking a spot on the levee for the fireworks show, which will be seen on both sides of the Mississippi.
Get ready for Game Day:
Allstate Sugar Bowl Fan Jam: You can’t have football without a tailgate party! Get to the Superdome three hours before kickoff for the first Baylor tailgate of the year. The Fan Jam is a free party including food, entertainment and interactive activities for all fans. The high-energy group KARMA will perform, as well as, the Golden Wave Band and the Baylor Spirit Squad.
Where: Champions Square at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome
When: 4:45 p.m. until kickoff at 7:45 p.m.
Follow the Lariat’s coverage of the Sugar Bowl at baylorlariat.com and on Twitter (@BULariatSports and @bulariat) and Instagram (@baylorlariat). Have fun Bears and Happy New Year!