St. Patrick’s Day festivities begin Friday and continue throughout the month, celebrating the holiday March 17. Search your closet for something green and get ready to experience the luck o’ the Irish.
This roundup of celebrations — from block parties that focus on philanthropy, to rowdy parades — guarantees revelers a wee bit of fun, and the perfect moment to sip emerald-hued beer to the sound of bagpipes.
Tracey’s Original Irish Channel Bar (504-897-5413; 2604 Magazine St., New Orleans) and Parasol’s Bar (504-302-1543; 2533 Constance St., New Orleans) will host daylong parties, with many patrons arriving after the 69th annual Irish Channel Parade. Both locales welcome revelers on March 17, St. Paddy’s Day, as well.
Following a noon Mass at St. Mary’s Assumption Church, The Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club will parade at 2 p.m. on their new route. The rollicking celebration has 25 floats with costumed riders distributing cabbage, green beans, potatoes, and carrots — most of the ingredients necessary for an Irish stew. Other throws include beer koozies and glossy beads. Kilt-wearing bagpipers will march down the street, along with men in tuxedos, bestowing colorful paper flowers and Irish kisses to ladies in the crowd.
The St. Patrick’s Committee of Jefferson Inc., commonly referred to as the Metairie Road St. Patrick’s Day Parade, will roll down that thoroughfare at noon. If there’s a threat of rain, they will likely start early.
Now in its 46th year, the sprawling parade attracts families from throughout the area and features 12 marching groups, such as The Celtics, more than 40 floats, and 50 truck floats. Riders will hand out cabbages and medallions celebrating the parade’s current theme: “Hail for McNamara’s Band.”
Thursday, March 17
The Downtown Irish Club Parade begins at 6 p.m. on the corner of Piety and Burgundy streets in the Bywater, and makes its way through the French Quarter.
Across town, the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club will host a fundraiser for St. Michael’s Special School, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The fete takes place at Annunciation Square Playground (1522 Chippewa St., New Orleans), where guests can sample hot tamales prepared by local firemen and enjoy dance performances from the students.
“(People) set up chairs, just like they’re at a parade, and have a great time,” said Dennis Roubion, the chairman of publicity. “It’s really a wonderful atmosphere.”
Finn McCool’s Irish Pub (504-486-9080; 3701 Banks St., New Orleans), the Mid-City locale favored by expats and soccer fans, will host a block party from 10 a.m. to midnight. Early arrivals can start their celebration with Irish breakfast sandwiches, purchased from the pub’s kitchen. At 3 p.m., free Irish fare — from Shepherd’s pie and Irish stew, to corned beef and curried potatoes — will be available.
The lineup of festivities includes a decorative potato contest (so bring a bedazzled potato), vegetable juggling, cabbage bowling and other shenanigans.
Live music and Irish karaoke will add to the gaiety, along with an appearance by The Muggivan School of Irish Dance. But don’t miss the “Wee Parade” at 6:30 p.m. This short procession of lads, lasses and tiny cardboard floats will parade out one door of the pub, and into the other.
The Louisiana Irish-Italian Parade is on March 20, followed by the St. Bernard Irish Italian Isleños Parade on April 16. Stay tuned!