06 March 2006

The Irish Channel Marching Club Practice Parade

The best idea ever conceived by man is the Irish Channel St. Patrick's Marching Club "practice" parade. The actual parade annually marches the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day in the Lower Garden District, Garden District, and the Irish Channel. The annual "practice" parade marches through the French Quarter and CBD the Friday the week before the real parade and consists of visiting 15+ bars--with a police escort of course. It starts at 8am at Cafe du Monde (actually at 7am at Pete's in the Cold in the Channel for the hardcores) and goes all day until about 4pm or so. Because of the way the calendar worked out this year, the practice parade was held this past Friday--three days after Mardi Gras. Myself and most of the Krewe Char de Guerre are members of the Irish Channel club which has over 1,000 members this year. Usually 1/3 or so show up for the practice parade and I'd say that's about what turned out Friday. Usual stops not made this year were O'Flaherty's (which from what I understand is a KTMB victim), Brennan's (haven't reopened yet), and Mike Serio's. Most of the Irish bars in the Quarter were visited including Fahey's which two nights prior to the parade I "had a few."

There weren't as many people in the Quarter as usual to practice giving beads to--but there were some. The fact that the parade was so soon after Mardi Gras didn't help, but in the afternoon I'd say there was a healthy turnout. I talked to a nice couple from West Virginia who love to come to New Orleans and they told me their shock at the extent of damage in the city, but both assured me New Orleans would be back in a "big way." At the end of the day while watching ships go by on the Moonwalk, I talked to a group of University of Michigan law students who came down during their spring break to help with housing issues in Gulfport. They too were blown away at the magnitude of destruction of both the coast and in New Orleans. And although cliche now, they all said that the images seen on television do not accurately convey the severity of the situation.

The weather was perfect and it was a great day. Its amazing how fast a day can go by when having a good time (and much beer). Finished off the day in MidCity with one last beer at Pal's Lounge.

If you are here, be sure to check out the "real" parade this Saturday, 11 March. The route runs from Sophie Wright Place on Magazine to Jackson to St. Charles to Louisiana to Magazine and ends at Jackson/Magazine. I'll be the guy in the tux. Here are pictures from Friday . . .


At March 07, 2006 12:00 PM, Anonymous ashley said...

DAMMIT! I thought the parade was gonna be next Saturday. I'm stuck in Chicago until Saturday night.

hey, idea: why don't you tell everybody to march both weekends. I bet they'll go for it!


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