The Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club has held a mass and parade for over 60 years. Rerouted due to construction, the over-1400 (often drunk) paraders drew a straight line through the city but still managed to be spread out and entertainingly-less-organized by the time they hit our spot. Wearing black suits with green accessories (many in kilts), walkers exchanged silk flowers for kisses from women and children. Floats toss cabbage, carrots, Moon Pies, Lucky Charms and Irish Spring soap in addition to the traditional throws of beads, toys and cups.
The Braveheart Warriors and their dancing girls in giant green afros were a welcome new addition to the festivities. We waved as the Celtic Highlanders‘ rolling bar passed then the curly-haired dancing girls of Muggivan School of Irish Dance were followed by the bagpipes of the New Orleans Firefighters. The men of the Irish Channel Corner Club, established in 1918, exchanged flowers for kisses accompanied by the Big Fun Brass Band, and the Daughters of Lir offered kisses for flowers to men. It was great to find a friend from the 610 Stompers as well as children’s author, Cornell Landry, among the walkers.
I was pleased to see The Emerald Society of New Orleans was one of a few floats to include riders with Down Syndrome and other challenges. I’m a big believer in inclusiveness. And after catching 4 cabbages, we’re looking forward to stew and grilled cabbage slices!