What's one of the best neighborhoods in the U.S. to see holiday lights in 2016?
New Orleans, according to web-based residential real estate company Redfin.
The company included the Big Easy in its Top 25 survey of spots across the country to catch the best decorations and illuminations.
Specifically, Redfin says the French Quarter "goes all out every year with beautiful lights and decorations. Make sure to take in the sights on Royal Street to see how homeowners ornament their brightly lit homes. While in the area, check out the Roosevelt Hotel’s lobby, which is adorned with ice-covered trees and over 1,000 twinkling lights transforming it into a true winter wonderland."
The company calls the Garden District "a sight to see. For one week in December, homeowners even open up their doors for guided home tours and live music. In case you want to do your own drive-by (free of charge), check out the houses on First, Second and Pleasant streets."
And the Lakeview and Mid-City areas "gets a famous rep for Christmas lights predominantly because of the huge Celebration in the Oaks that takes place every year in New Orleans City Park, but stroll the neighboring park streets and you’ll find some of the most finely decorated homes in the Big Easy!"
For the full list, visit https://www.redfin.com/blog/2016/12/the-best-neighborhoods-to-see-holiday-lights-in-2016-2.html.
Road trip time
Want to venture out farther than the Crescent City?
Head for New Iberia, where the Joseph Jefferson Home and Rip Van Winkle Gardens are decked out in Victorian Christmas style. Tours of the house and gardens run 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 5505 Rip Van Winkle Road, through Jan. 7.
For more info, call (337) 359-8525 or go to RipVanWinkleGardens.com.
Also in New Iberia, The Shadows Merry Making Season is in full swing at Shadows-on-the-Teche, 317 E. Main St.
The plantation home is decorated in the 19th-century holiday style as well, and tours focus on family celebrations during that period. Visit 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday through Dec. 31. The last tour starts at 3:15 p.m.
The Iberia Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau wants to see how you "savor the season." It's looking for photographs and videos for a contest running through Dec. 31.
To enter, follow the bureau online and use the hashtag #SavorTheSeason when posting your captured moments around the parish on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. By submitting, the photographer agrees that their photo may or may not be used by IPCVB without photographer credit for promoting Iberia Parish.
On Jan. 2, the bureau's Facebook album will feature favorite photos, and online voting begins. Names/usernames will not be used in order to keep the contest fair for all participants. The winner will receive an Iberia Parish Christmas present and 2 VIP passes allowing free entry into all of Iberia attractions including, but not limited to, Tabasco Factory, Jungle Gardens, Jefferson Island Rip Van Winkle Gardens, Konriko Rice Mill, Bayou Teche Museum, Shadows-on-the-Teche and Jeanerette Museum.
Head north for the giant Festival of Lights in Natchitoches through Jan. 6.
The Central Louisiana town offers more than 300,000 Christmas lights and 100-plus riverbank set pieces on display every night at dusk. In conjunction with the lights, many events take place downtown and along the riverbank of Cane River Lake.
For more info, visit www.natchitocheschristmas.com/.
Follow Judy Bergeron on Twitter, @judybergeronbr