The Baton Rouge Recreation and Park Commission has an interesting
article on the way the Magnolia Mound Plantation presents a historical
French Lousiana Christmas.
Christmas, families would eat a cake in the shape of a Yule log and
put out a nativity scene. Children set out wooden shoes for pere Noel
to fill on January 1st rather than on Christmas day. The Christmas
season culminated on Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, with a king cake,
bonfires, and fireworks.
An article in AAA Traveler magazine
(http://www.ouraaa.com/traveler/0311/fea_herald_s.html) confirms that
most French families traditionally celebrated Christmas as a day of
religious fasting and prayer.
After midnight mass, they would have a feast called Le Reveillon, an
elaborate meal. Lafitte's Landing offers a sample menu.
Also traditional is the lighting of bonfires. There is a festival from
Dec. 10-12 this year
Frommer's 2003 Guide to New Orleans says that the bonfires are lit to
guide Pere Noel (the French version of Santa Claus), and notes that he
drives a sled pulled by alligators. According to the AAA article, this
began as a German tradition.
The Unofficial Guide to New Orleans (2003 edition, written by Eve
Zibart and Bob Selinger) describes how New Orleans' City park is
decorated with lights in the shapes of fleur-de-lis, harps and stars.
I hope this helps!
Search terms: french christmas decorations louisiana