Marsalis, the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, became a passionate spokesman for his hometown of New Orleans after the city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina this year.
New York City workers who traveled to New Orleans to provide assistance after the hurricane will join Marsalis in pressing the button that drops Times Square's iconic crystal ball at midnight on December 31.
"I am grateful to [New York] mayor Bloomberg for giving me the opportunity to show that in this season of renewal, the people of the gulf region will rebuild and rejoice once again," Marsalis said.
The festivities will also include fireworks and performances by Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey.
Previous guests of honor at the Times Square celebration have included former secretary of state Colin Powell, boxer Muhammad Ali, and actor Christopher Reeve.