New Orleans St. Patrick’s Day Parade

New Orleans St. Patrick’s Day Parade
The city of New Orleans, Louisiana is famous for its world renowned Mardi Gras parade. But it’s not the only holiday parade held in the city. Historically the largest entry port for Irish immigrants in the Southern United States, New Orleans hosts annual Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations. The New Orleans St. Patrick’s Day Parade dates back to the 19th century.

The earliest record of Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations in New Orleans dates back to 1809. Since then, the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade has become one of the city’s most anticipated events. In fact, there are several holiday parades in New Orleans held around March 17. They are mostly based around neighborhood and community organizations. These parades include the Irish Channel parade, the Downtown Irish Club parade, the French Quarter parade, the Louisiana Irish-Italian parade, and more.

Most parades usually take place the weekend prior or following March 17 but the Downtown Irish Club parade is held exactly on Saint Patrick’s Day. It kicks off at 6 p.m. on the corner of Burgundy and Piety streets in the Bywater neighborhood and ends at Bourbon Street, making several “pit stops” on the way.

New Orleans’s St. Patrick’s parade has been heavily influenced by Mardi Gras. Some floats are reused from local Carnival parades and participants throw beads, flowers and trinkets to the crowd. Interestingly, the parade’s most famous throws are cabbages, onions, carrots, potatoes and other vegetables used for making an Irish stew. Some spectators even set up ladders and perch themselves above the crowd to catch as many vegetables as they can.

Saint Patrick’s Day parades in New Orleans feature beautifully decorated floats, riders in carriages, marching bands, dancers and other performers, costumed characters, and more. There also are block parties with music, dancing, green beer, Irish food, contests and surprises.

While many St. Patrick’s Day parade don’t allow pets, New Orleans’s parade is an exception. Many participants bring their dogs to the parade all dressed up in green for the holiday. Some people even bring exotic pets such as snakes. What can we say, everyone is Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day, even animals!

New Orleans St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Photo: Jen Sharp




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