New Orleans loves a parade. And they love the Irish. So the region hosts not one, but four St. Patrick’s Day related parades.
The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration was held in New Orleans in 1806 and was attended by several state dignitaries, including then-Gov. C.C. Claiborne and included a dinner and 17 toasts.
Today’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities are slightly different affairs, with the largest parades in Uptown held usually the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day and in Metairie, on the Sunday after the St. Patrick’s Day.
The almost century-old Irish Channel Corner Club started parading in the Irish Channel after World War II.
The separate Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club also started marching in the Irish Channel in 1947 and boasts of about 1,400 members, most of whom walk the parade route after attending mass at St. Mary’s Assumption Church. The groups march together with bands and other marching groups – and typically trade their flowers or beads for favors of kisses or drinks.
Floats also appear in the Irish Channel and Metairie parade, with riders throwing cabbages, carrots, other produce — and the occasional corned beef — for parade goers use in their St. Patrick’s Day meals.
A separate walking parade is held on St. Patrick’s Day in the French Quarter. A related Irish-American St. Joseph’s Parade — St. Joseph’s Day is March 19 — marches in the French Quarter a few days later.