First Lady Donna Edwards has officially kicked off the 2017 Christmas and holiday season at the Governor’s Mansion on behalf of the First Family. Several children and families who helped Louisiana reach a record number of adoptions this year attended the celebration and were treated to a tour of the mansion, a musical performance and a special visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus. This year’s theme and many of the mansion decorations pay tribute to Louisiana’s Spanish heritage and culture.

“This is one of the most beautiful times of the year, and the governor and I invite everyone to join us in celebrating the spirit of the season,” said First Lady Edwards. “From the Capitol to the Governor’s Mansion, there are many sights and sounds to take in, some of which you can only experience in Louisiana. We are excited to share them with those from near and far, and we wish everyone a safe and wonderful holiday season filled with many blessings.”

A total of six Christmas trees throughout the mansion have been decorated with hundreds of ornaments and lights. Also this year, a special surprise awaits guests who drive by the mansion. Located in front of the Capitol Lake you will see Cajun Santa and his swamp sleigh driven by his Louisiana alligators as well as many other festive displays. 

The first lady also invited her guests to visit the State Capitol Memorial Hall Christmas décor organized by the Governor’s Office. Louisianans and guests from around the world will be visiting the Capitol during this special time. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry along with the following emergency response state agencies have decorated a total of eight Louisiana-grown Christmas trees for display in Memorial Hall: The Louisiana Dept. of Agriculture and Forestry, Governor's Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, the Louisiana National Guard, Louisiana State Police, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Department of Transportation and Development, the Louisiana Department of Health and the Department of Children and Family Services.

The Louisiana State Capitol, the most visited capitol building in the country, will be lit in red and green lights during the holiday season.

Click each link to download photos from the kickoff festivities: 

State Capitol Building: Photo 1, Photo 2

Memorial hall: Photo 3, Photo 4, Photo 5

Governor’s Mansion: Photo 6, Photo 7 and Photo 8