A Tale of Two Irish Cities
St Patrick's Day has always been quite the spectacle in many cities but in Louisiana, the green party day lasts for three weekends between celebrations in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. This year was a defining celebration since that little pandemic issue has kept the holiday on ice for two years.
The Irish Channel Parade begins in uptown New Orleans along Magazine Street in an area which at one time had one of the largest Irish populations in the south. This is the largest of the local parades and certainly did not disappoint this year. Just like Mardi Gras, Parade goers line the streets with ice chests and chairs in anticipation of catching throws consisting of vegetables, moon pies, Irish Spring Soap, and beads. Yes, people do take the cabbage, potatoes, and carrots home and apparently make divine stew creations. House Parties abound throughout the parade route making it easy to step off the streets.
Baton Rouge also has a celebration although we were surprised they did not throw produce from the floats. It's been a couple of years since this parade rolled as well and our biggest thrill was watching homeowner's cut tree branches to get the floats through their streets. House parties are also quite the rage in the capital city and we were lucky enough to attend one of the larger ones. A full DJ welcomed guests in the morning hours and a live band finished out the afternoon as the parade passed by.
Of course no St Patrick's day could be complete without Irish Coffee. Our favorite Irish whiskey happens to be Tullamore Dew in honor of some friends that always toasted with it at Molly's Irish Pub in the French Quarter. Year ago, patrons of Molly's would ride in the Strauss Wholesale Liquor Company Fire Engine(yes we had a fire truck because well, you know, you had to) in the downtown Irish Parade. There's nothing better than watching inebriated Irish folks dancing on the back of a fire engine until they fall off and discover that there are lawyers available. That was the end of the fire engine participation in the parade.
The Irish would have been proud with the rebirth of the green in the South.