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St. Patrick’s Day Parades in Cajun & Creole Louisiana

A Bit of Irish in Cajuns & Creoles

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St. Patrick’s Day in Louisiana

St. Patrick’s Day in Louisiana

Terri Pischoff Wuerthner
Updated February 23, 2011

Although one generally thinks of Cajun and Creole people as being of French descent (primarily) and Spanish descent (secondarily), many other ethnic groups had a great influence on the food, culture, and traditions of the Cajun and Creole people. One of the most inflential groups of people were the Irish, who have placed their stamp on Louisiana in everything from restaurants to pubs to traditions and parades.

People in Louisiana love parades, and St. Patrick's Day is another great reason for this very New Orleans and Creole/Cajun festivity. The crowds start gathering well before the parade actually floats by, as this is another opportunity to get your family out together and meet up with friends to enjoy yet another party!

March could bring rain or shine, so the scene might be one of picnic baskets and portable outdoor chairs, or umbrellas sheltering the revellers from the rain. In either case--and the weather doesn't dampen anyone's spirits--this is an outdoor party to rival any other except, perhaps, Mardi Gras.

Those who are not dressed in green at least have on a green accessory or green Mardi Gras beads. Those in the parade like to toss various items to the crowds, as the people shout to them to "Throw me something!" The 'something' may be colorful beads, flowers, or even vegetables (usually cabbages, carrots, onions, or potatoes).

As with all events in Louisiana, there is music, dancing, and food--always food, and always good food.

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To bring good luck with you for the day, follow some of these Irish practices:

  • Find a pencil and pick it up
  • Find a four-leaf clover and pick it
  • Find a penny and pick it up
  • Drop a glove
  • Watch a spider spinning its web
  • Have a ladybug land on you
  • Sneeze three times before you eat breakfast

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SAINT PATRICK'S DAY PARADES & EVENTS

Irish-Italian-Islenos Parade, Friday, March 4, 2011. This is one of the largest St. Patrick's Day parades in the State, with 44 floats and more than 1000 riders. It is traditional for riders to throw ingredients for Irish stew or cabbage soup to the spectators, so expect to see cabbages, potatoes, carrots, and onions flying through the air. Although participants have been recently instructed not to toss cabbages and potatoes overhand to spectators...they must either be handed or gently tossed to parade spectators. Throwing cabbages and potatoes will get one ejected from the parade.

According to the St. Bernard Parish Government, about 250,000 pounds of cabbage, onions, apples, potatoes, carrots and other produce will be thrown by the riders. The royalty in this parade will include a king and queen of Irish descent, Italian descent, and Canary Island descent (Islenos). 11 a.m.

New Orleans Irish Channel St. Patrick's Day Parade & Mass; Saturday, March 12, 2011; Mass (St. Mary's Assumption Church--corner of Consance & Josephine Streets), 12:00 p.m.; Irish Channel Parade (corner of Felicity & Magazine Streets); 1:00 p.m. Hundreds of formally attired men will form this 62nd annual parade up Magazine Street at 1:00 p.m.

Annual Metairie Road Irish-Italian St. Patrick's Day Parade; Sunday, March 13, 2011 (in front of Rummel High School on Severn Avenue, down Severn to Metairie Road, then Metairie Road to the parish line); 11 a.m. Those in the parade traditionally throw not only beads and produce, but plastic eating utensils--though only green utensils.

Slidell's St. Patrick's Day Parade; March 14. Rolling through the old town area of Slidell, this lively parade has it all: floats--both large and small, cars, vans, marching bands, dancers and, of course, riders throwing everything from beads to onions. There are also awards for best costume, and a King and Queen who are announced before the start of the parade.

Awards will be given out for best costume, best regular float, best marchers, best small trailer, best bicycles, best truck or van, best umbrella, best large float, best car, and best team. 1 p.m.

Downtown Irish Club Parade; Thursday, March 17, 2011. The annual downtown St. Patrick's Day parade begins on the corner of Burgundy and Piety in the Bywater, proceeds roughly up Royal, across Esplanade to Decatur, up Bienville to Bourbon, making several "pit stops" on its way to Bourbon Street. 7:00 p.m.

St. Patrick's Day Parade; Saturday, March 19, 2011; Baton Rouge. This parade is a big, fun, hectic event for the entire family. Plan on crowds, so get there early if you want to choose a good spot.

St. Joseph's Day Parade in French Quarter; Saturday, March 19, 2011. 6 p.m.

Louisiana Irish-Italian Parade; Sunday, March 20, 2011; Metairie. 12:00 p.m. 

Irish Italian Islenos Parade (St. Bernard Parish); Sunday, April 3, 2011. 12:00 p.m.

See other Irish recipes that are favorites in Cajun Country and in New Orleans:

Queen of Puddings
Corned Beef, Home-Cured
Irish Rarebit with Tomatoes
Irish Stew
Colcannon
Irish Soda Bread

For delightful stories on 'Irish in Louisiana' see:

When Nana Cooked for St. Pat's Day
St. Patrick's Day- -Irish in Louisiana

More St. Patrick's Day Food

Top Corned Beef Recipes
Leftover Corned Beef Recipes
A Variety of St. Patrick's Day Recipes

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