St. Patrick’s Day celebrations begin this week, and I think there’s a case to be made that honoring the patron saint of Ireland is part of our civic duty as New Orleanians.
Well, for one, New Orleans has been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day since 1806! For two, the Irish have played a huge part in building this city: By 1850, between 20% and 25% of the city was Irish!
Those numbers have gone down a bit these days, but you wouldn’t know it when St. Patrick’s Day celebrations come rolling through.
You can read a history of Irish influence in New Orleans by an excellent local writer here (spoiler: it was me… I wrote it), but today’s article is focused on ways to celebrate. There are lots of parades, but there’s much more, as well.
Read on to find the best ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in New Orleans!
The Irish in New Orleans
Thursday, Mar. 12 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
The University of New Orleans is hosting a talk about the influence of Irish immigrants in NOLA. The speaker, Dr. Laura Kelley, is an immigrant and ethnic historian at Tulane University and has written extensively on this topic. Her work on the history of the Irish in this city is unmatched and you won’t want to miss an opportunity to hear her. Additional details can be found here.
Molly’s at the Market Irish Parade
Friday, Mar. 13 at 6 p.m.
Locals know Molly’s on the Market for its delicious Iced Irish Coffees. The parade begins and ends at this favorite French Quarter bar, featuring marching bands, carriage riders and a boisterous after-party. You can find the parade route here.
Downtown Irish Club Parade
Friday, Mar. 13 at 6:30 p.m.
If you love walking with St. Anne’s on Mardi Gras, this St. Patrick’s parade might be the one for you. It kicks off at Bud Rips in the Bywater, before bar crawling its way along this route all the way to Bourbon Street. Watch as the procession passes by, or follow them to their next pit stop.
Pete’s St. Patrick’s Day 2020
Saturday, Mar. 14 from 8 a.m. until midnight
Pete’s Out in the Cold is a secret favorite of many Irish Channel residents. They’re opening their doors at 8 a.m., so swing by and find out why so many people love this neighborhood bar. It’s the perfect place to grab a drink on your way to the parade, and in addition to their usual beer and cocktail offerings Pete’s is advertising Jello shots, Jameson, and ice and beer to fill your coolers for the long day ahead.
Parasol’s Block Party and Tracy’s Block Party
Saturday, Mar. 14: Parasol’s from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.; Tracy’s from 11 a.m. until “late”
These two Irish Channel bars are on the same block so their two separate events basically become one massive party. They both will have that bizarre-but-popular green beer for sale. Tracy’s is advertising corned beef and cabbage, while Parasol’s says they’ll have “food and surprises.” These are great places to swing by to pregame before the Irish Channel Parade (see below), hang out during the parade, and continue the party after the parade. Be prepared for crowds.
Irish Channel Parade
Saturday, Mar. 14 at 1 p.m.
The Irish Channel Parade is “The Big Show,” attracting thousands of revelers to the streets looking for orange, green and white flowers, as well as smooches, bars of Irish Spring soap, Moon Pies, carrots, cabbages, beads and whatever else happens to be thrown from the parade’s floats. You can check out the route here, but find any spot on Magazine Street between Louisiana and Jackson avenues and you’ll be just fine.
Italian-American St. Joseph’s Parade
Saturday, Mar. 14 at 6 p.m.
Technically this parade is for St. Joseph and not St. Patrick, but the Irish are involved so it’s going on this list! If you want another parade after your Irish Channel Parade, head to the French Quarter and cheer on 16 floats, nine marching bands, and a whole lot of tuxedoed gentlemen. Here’s the route, so find a bar nearby and make a toast to both Patrick and Joseph.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Metairie Road
Sunday, Mar. 15 at noon
This one’s for all the Metairie readers out there (or for anyone else who wants to enjoy a nearby parade on Sunday). This one starts at Rummel High School and has all the trappings of your favorite Mardi Gras parade. You can find the full route here, but it makes it all the way to the Orleans Parish line, so this parade’s not too much of a trek for you New Orleanians.
There’s also the two-mile St. Patrick’s Day Classic for the athletic among us. The run starts at 10 a.m. and follows much of the parade route, ending at a post-race parade watch party. You can register for the run here for $25.
St. Patrick’s Day celebration with Danny O’Flaherty
Sunday, Mar. 15 from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
Stop by the beautiful Deutches Haus along Bayou St. John for touring musician, Danny O’Flaherty’s mix of original Celtic and Folk songs, as well as traditional stories and tunes from his homeland of Ireland. You can purchase tickets here for $20 or buy them at the door.
Irish Channel Block Party
Tuesday, Mar. 17 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
The Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club hosts this annual party at Annunciation Park. The party features free music, Irish dancing and other entertainment, plus food and beverages available for purchase. All proceeds benefit the nearby St. Michael Special School, so get there and show your support!
Finn’s St. Patrick’s Day Block Party
Tuesday, Mar. 17 from 10 a.m. until very late
Finn McCool’s is the undisputed champion of Irish pubs in New Orleans, and their St. Patrick’s Day block party is worthy of that status. They’ll have crawfish from Clesi’s Restaurant boiling at noon, and live music from 1 until 4:30 p.m. You can also enjoy the world’s shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade, the coronation of the bar’s annual royalty, as well as food and drink specials.
The bar will also host events in the days leading up to the party. Stop by on Friday, Mar. 13 for bagpipes at 6 p.m. and the opportunity to have your face engraved in a pint of Guinness at 7 p.m. Sunday, Mar.15 features a delicious Irish breakfast and traditional music at noon.
Crescent & Clover Play a Pair of Shows
Tuesday, Mar. 17 at Kerry Irish Pub from 3:30 p.m. until 7 p.m.; The Holy Ground from 9 p.m. until midnight.
The Crescent & Clover Celtic Band play two shows on St. Patrick’s Day. The first is in the French Quarter at Kerry Irish Pub. They’ll be on the bill with Hugh Morrison, as well as Rights of Passage.
Their second performance is in Mid-City at The Holy Ground. They’ll be playing from 9 p.m. until midnight, and listening to their traditional Celtic sounds is a great way to end an eventful week of St. Patrick’s Day festivities!
WRITER MATT HAINES LIVES IN NEW ORLEANS. FOLLOW HIM FOR ALL THINGS IRISH, NEW ORLEANS AND MORE AT MATTHAINESWRITES.COM, AND ON FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM AND TWITTER.