New Orleans Area Gets Its IRISH On

St. Patrick's celebrations leading up to the holiday continued as smoothly as they started in                                           
the New Orleans area with thousands of Irish or Italian revelers suspending post-Katrina                                              
rebuilding work to enjoy festivities from the top o' the morning 'til dusk on St. Paddy's Day.                                       

Beginning with Jim Monaghan's French Quarter parade on Friday, the opening day for the                                           
holiday's weekend events, New Orleans got its Irish on. Then Saturday, the 61st annual                                              
Irish Channel St. Pat's parade, which has grown in stature and attendance from a neighbor-                                         
hood romp to a mainstream route along St. Charles Avenue, wowed the celebrants with Irish-                                      
themed Mardi Gras floats and tons of cabbages, potatoes, and beads galore.

Sunday, the day before the holiday, the Irish-Italian parade in Metairie on Metairie Road and                                         
St. Patrick's parade through Olde Towne Slidell helped climax Jefferson and St. Tammany                                           

On St. Patrick's day, the annual party at Parasol's in the New Orleans Irish Channel had the                                         
green beer flowing non-stop while a block party nearby at Annunciation Square in the Irish                                         
Channel drew hundreds of revelers for food, green beer, and music, with proceeds from                                            
sales benefitting St. Michael's Special School. To top it all off, at the top o' the evening, the                                          
Downtown Irish Club made its march through the French Quarter.

The last parade of the Irish season was yet to come. Two weeks later, a week after Easter
Sunday, dozens of floats and trucks in the annual Veterans Boulevard Irish-Italian Parade
rolled under sunny skies in Metairie to the cheers and delight of thousands of
green-decked parade-goers.
Irish Channel St. Patrick's Parade 2008 New Orleans (photo by
Irish Channel St. Patrick's parade New Orleans 2008
Participants in the Irish Channel parade
FEMA Trailers in St. Bernard, LA 12-2007  (katrina connection photo)
                                    ST. PATRICK'S FACTS
From the U.S. Census Bureau

Originally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth
century, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into a celebration for all things Irish. The world’s first St.
Patrick’s Day parade occurred on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish soldiers
serving in the English military. President Truman attended the parade in 1948, a proud moment for
the many Irish whose ancestors had to fight stereotypes and prejudice to find acceptance in
America. Congress proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1995, and the president
issues a proclamation each year.

36 million U.S. residents claim Irish ancestry. This number is almost nine times the population of
Ireland itself (slightly more than 4 million). Irish is the nation’s second most frequently reported
ancestry, trailing only German. Massachusetts has the highest (24%)compared with a
corresponding rate of 12% for the nation as a whole.

42.1 billion pounds of U.S. beef and 2.6 billion pounds of cabbage was produced in 2006. Corned
beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patrick’s Day dish. The corned beef that celebrants dine on
may very well have originated in Texas, which produced 6.8 billion pounds worth of beef, while
the cabbage most likely came from California, which produced 607 million pounds worth, or New
York (462 million pounds).
Irish-Italian parade, Veterans Blvd., Metairie, LA (photo  by kc)
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