Yes, it was a Wednesday and, no, it wasn’t a holiday, but the festivities started at 11 am at Parasol’s annual block party.
I had an audition at 2 pm that ran late so by the time I arrived, everyone had gotten a pretty good head-start. I’m certain the Irish population here is fairly small in comparison to those of French, African or any number of other heritages. That said, everyone was Irish for a day. I’ve never seen so much green clothing, wigs and face paint in my life. And not just at the parties – at store’s, on sidewalks, people just going about their day were going about it in green. These people take silliness very seriously.
Luckily, I was afforded a balcony view for much of the mayhem at Parasol’s. Later, we moved our party toward downtown, stopping at an Irish pub called Finn McCool’s. They were having lots of contests and raffles and the crowd ranged from children to seniors. One of my favorite things about this city, this culture, is the multi-generational approach to celebrating. Anyone in a good mood is welcome and many bars and restaurants have no dress code but have a sign above the door or in the window, “Be nice or leave.”
After nightfall, we wandered down into the Marigny to watch the parade. As with the one on Saturday, there were many tuxedoed men handing out flowers for kisses. Turns out they also peel off and stop for drinks along the way in local pubs. I hear tell there’s an Easter keg hunt coming soon. That’s right, keg. I think the idea is you hop from bar to bar getting clues that lead you to a free keg of beer. My guess is that most people end up fairly clueless but happy to have spent the day bar-hopping.
We ended the night at Check Point Charlie’s, a pool hall/bar/restaurant/music venue/laundry-mat with a happy hour at 4:30 AM.
We watched the parade from a window then enjoyed some crazy cool Russian music and a great band called The Happy Talk Band.
Here’s some video of them from a few years ago. It’s not one of their original songs, but it’s the best video quality I found without curse words.
Here’s the day in video.
And in case you can’t get enough, here’s some video from someone who went to a street party in the Bywater.