Colin Cooke/Stockfood

A Big Easy Thanksgiving

The Bayou Classic in New Orleans offers fans the chance to spend the holiday weekend in true Cajun style.

While New Orleans operates with a holiday mentality nearly 365 days a year, the long Thanksgiving weekend offers some particular pleasures.

Several holiday highlights are tied to the Bayou Classic football game between Grambling and Southern, which takes place on Nov. 30 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Bayou Classic parade, featuring both schools’ exceptional marching bands, steps off from the Superdome at 3:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, and makes its way to the French Market over the next two or three hours. A Battle of the Bands and Greek Show in the stadium starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 29.

Many of New Orleans’ most famous restaurants serve Thanksgiving dinner, some of them offering the Cajun specialty — and favorite of NFL legend John Madden — called a “turducken,” a chicken stuffed within a duck stuffed within a turkey. If you’re sticking around long enough for Sunday brunch, Commander’s Palace in the Garden District offers Creole classics, while Li’l Dizzy’s Cafe in Treme is the place for a soul-food buffet.

New Orleans always offers an abundance of great music, from jazz at Preservation Hall to R&B at Tipitina’s or at the multiple clubs on Frenchmen Street, and Thanksgiving weekend is no exception. Local favorite Rock ’n’ Bowl has zydeco musician Geno Delafose and blues rocker Tab Benoit scheduled.

And if you’re already trying to get into the Christmas spirit, visit “Celebration in the Oaks,” which sets City Park aglow. The festival begins the day after Thanksgiving and runs through Jan. 4, 2014.