THE ROMANCE OF OLD NEW ORLEANS ON VALENTINE’S DAY
Author: Sallie F. Arnoult
As we begin 2018, New Orleans is celebrating its Tricentennial. Old New Orleans holds romance, curiosity, and mystique for locals and visitors alike. Love is in the air year round, but it is especially celebrated on Valentine’s Day, February 14th.
The legend of why we celebrate Valentine’s Day is that, in ancient Rome, there was a pagan celebration in mid-February called Lupercalia. Lupercalia was a decadent festival where Roman men and women paired off into couples, in a fertility rite. As the Roman Empire became more Christian, the Pope replaced Lupercalia with a celebration of the feast day of Saint Valentine, in the 5th century. Since St. Valentine’s life has become surrounded by myths, it is no longer clear as to why he was selected as the representative for romantic love, with the exception that his feast day is the 14th of February. Valentine’s Day is no longer a holiday to merely celebrate romance between couples, but celebrates all forms of loving relationships.
A FEW WAYS TO CELEBRATE VALENTINE’S DAY IN NEW ORLEANS
There are many venues to have fun throughout City Park. Enjoy breakfast or lunch at the Filmore, in the Clubhouse of the newly constructed golf course. Play a round of golf, or if you’re not a golfer, play a round at City Putt. Take a stroll through the Besthoff Sculpture Garden or the Botanical Garden. Bring the children to Storyland and take a tour of the park on the train. Visit the New Orleans Museum of Art, and enjoy the offerings in the museum café. Rent a bicycle or canoe if you’re the outdoorsy type. Enjoy café au lait and beignets at the Morning Call in the Casino Building. Feed the ducks and swans, before playing on the swings and slides with the kiddos. Explore all that City Park has to offer!
Many restaurants offer dinner specials for Valentine’s Day. As the first day of Lent, the seafood restaurants will be overflowing with patrons. Reservations are advised. If you’re dining in the French Quarter or in the vicinity, follow your meal with a visit to a live music venue in the Quarter or in the Marigny on Frenchman Street.
Take a cruise along the mighty Mississippi River on the Creole Queen or the Steamboat Natchez. The Paddlewheeler Creole Queen offers an upscale buffet, musical entertainment, an open bar, and reserve seating to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Romance your Valentine on the Steamboat Natchez with a Dinner Jazz Cruise. These vessels explore the allure and mystique of Mother River.
However you decide to celebrate, have a very
Happy Valentine’s Day!