Irish Parade

Ralph Marchese, left, and John Marchese are co-grand marshals of the 49th annual St Patrick’s Day parade to be held at noon Sunday in Old Metairie.  

It will be a special day for the family and friends of St. Patrick Parade founder John “Johnny” Marchese when his sons, John and Ralph, serve as co-grand marshals of the 49th annual parade at noon Sunday, March 17, in Old Metairie.

“I am honored to follow in my dad’s footsteps,” said John Marchese, 78, a Kenner resident. “He loved everything about this parade.”

“I am very happy to be co-grand marshal and to do this with my brother,” said Ralph, 75 of New Orleans. “I know our father would be very happy. It’s going to be a good time, and I always have a good time.”

John Marchese died in March 2015 at the age of 97. Under his leadership, the first St. Patrick Parade rolled in Old Metairie in 1970. He served as parade captain until 2012, was grand marshal of the 2013 parade, and that same yea was named “captain emeritus.”

The theme of this year's parade is “It’s Lucky to be Irish,” and it will feature 50 trucks, 46 floats, 11 marching units and three novelty units. The parade will begin at the intersection of 41st Street and Severn Avenue near Archbishop Rummel High School, go down Severn, turning left onto Metairie Road. It will turn left when it reaches Focis Street and disband at Focis and Canal streets.

Reigning as queens of the parade are Diann Marchese, John Marchese’s wife, and Angie Larrieu, Ralph Marchese’s longtime partner.

Like their father, both Ralph and John Marchese serve on the St. Patrick Parade Committee. Each of them worked for more than 20 years for the New Orleans Police Department. John Marchese went on to work for NOPD’s Employees Credit Union and retired after 25 years, but he said he continues to help when needed.

After retiring from New Orleans Police Department, Ralph Marchese went on to work for and retire from the Army Corps of Engineers after 30 years.

The Marchese brothers will be honored at the annual presentation of the shillelagh party at 4 p.m. Friday, March 15, at the intersection of Metairie Road and Causeway Boulevard. There will be food, refreshments and music.

Citizens Academy to begin

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office will once again sponsor its Citizen Academy, a 24-hour block of instruction designed to give local residents information about the workings of the Sheriff’s Office, including its policies, procedures, programs and challenges.

The weekly program is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays for eight weeks, beginning on March 21 and concluding May 9. The classes will be held at Jefferson Parish Sheriff Office's Training Academy, 1801 Westbank Expressway, Harvey.

Classes will be taught by members of the Sheriff’s Office. Participants will also be introduced to the Sheriff Office staff and learn what their responsibilities are, enforcement efforts, and trends in law enforcement.

The program is open to any Jefferson Parish resident age 21 and older.

For more information and to register, call (504) 363-5549.

Writers meeting

Mimi Greenwood Knight will be the guest speaker at 10 a.m. Saturday at the meeting of the Southern Christian Writers at the Gospel Bookstore, 91 West Bank Expressway, Gretna.

Knight has had numerous articles published in regional and national magazines including Sesame Street Parents, In Touch magazine, Inside New Orleans and Northshore Living.

She also has more than 50 essays published in more than 30 anthologies including the popular “Chicken Soup” series.

For more information, email Teena Myers at or call (504) 362-7770.

Guild to meet

St. Elizabeth’s Guild will hold a general meeting and luncheon beginning at 10:30 a.m. March 14 at Andy’s Bistro, 3322 N. Turnbull Drive, Metairie.

The guest speaker is Dr. Jack Andoni, board president of Hotel Hope, a nonprofit, interfaith organization that provides housing to women and their children while helping them become self-sufficient.

St. Elizabeth’s Guild supports the various children’s programs sponsored by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

For more information, call guild president Kathleen Robert at (504) 782-9919.

Eva Jacob Barkoff writes about the people and events in Jefferson Parish. She can be reached at