Parades and parties as local Italians and Irish celebrate their heritage this weekend

Don Ames
March 22, 2019 - 6:39 am

Ancestry, heritage and religion are on parade in the metro area this weekend.

And, plenty of other events to keep you entertained, as well. The big events are the parades. 

Saturday evening, The Italian-American St. Joseph's Society honors their patron saint with a parade rolling from Canal  and Chartres Street at 6 p.m.

"We'll head into the heart of the French Quarter, or as a lot of the Sicilian immigrants dubbed it back in the 1800s when they all came here, 'Little Palermo'," says Society President Peter Gilberti. 

We've got 12 floats and over 500 marchers...good-looking Italian guys walking the streets of 'Little Palermo,' giving out flowers and lucky beans and beads. And, we will parade throughout the entire French Quarter. We'll sing, dance the tarantella and sing the night away."

Sunday, the action moves to Metairie when the Louisiana Irish-Italian Parade rolls along Veterans Blvd. at noon. This is a big one, and will likely roll for quite a while

"We have 110 units in the parade, which is capacity...95 floats and truck floats," says Jason Renton, President of the Louisiana Irish-Italian Association. And, they do throw!

"Soaps, spaghetti, cabbage, carrots, onions, potatoes...the variety of throws makes our parade unique," Renton says.

"This is the last parade of the year in Metairie. And by the response we see on Facebook, this is a lot of folks favorite parade of the year."

It's a busy weekend, throughout the Greater New Orleans area. 


March 22 

Drafts for Crafts (National World War II Museum, 945 Magazine St.) — The event features live music, food from local restaurants, a beer garden and raffle. 7 p.m. $50-$125.

March 22-23

Back to Banks Blue Jay Bazaar (Jesuit High School, 4133 Banks St) — There's Lenten fare on Friday evening, and Saturday features a live music, food and drink booths, games, inflatables and raffles, including one with a $5,000 prize. 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday. Free.

March 22-23

Buku Music + Art Project (Mardi Gras World, 1400 Port of New Orleans Place) — More than 65 bands perform music in a variety of genres and there are art displays, food and drink vendors and special late shows at the Joy Theater. 2 p.m.-midnight daily. $120, $220 two-day pass. VIP tickets available.

March 22-23

Hammond Smokin' BBQ Challenge (200 S.W. Railroad Ave., Hammond) — More than 50 professional cooking teams compete for more than $12,000 in prizes. There are children's competitions, live music and arts and crafts vendors. 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Free.

March 23

Children's World's Fair (Louisiana Children's Museum, 420 Julia St.) — The daylong event includes cultural performances, games, music, literature, and crafts focusing on Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, France, Ireland, the Philippines and Senegal. 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. $20, $16 for museum members.

March 23

Fete Francaise (Ecole Bilingue de la Nouvelle-Orleans, 821 Gen. Pershing St.) — The festival celebrates Francophone heritage with fine art, crafts, 25 food booths, two stages for live music, children's activities and cultural demonstrations. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Free.

March 23

Hike Fest (Lafitte Greenway Great Lawn, 500 N. Galvez St.) — The annual hike includes live music, food and art vendors, storytelling, kids' activities and guided walking tours. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Free.

March 23

Kenner Hot Diggity Dog Fest (Kenner City Park, 3800 Loyola Drive, 5050 Williams Blvd., Kenner) — The dog-friendly event includes live music, food and pet adoptions. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free.

March 23

Italian-American St. Joseph's Parade (French Quarter) — The St. Joseph's Society hosts the parade, which has 12 floats, nine marching bands and marchers in tuxedos. It starts at the intersection of Canal and Chartres Street. 6 p.m.-till. Free.

March 23

Old Metairie Spring Arts Festival (Canal Street between Focis and Nursery streets, Metairie) — The inaugural festival features more than 500 pieces of art for sale by local artists, food vendors, art-based and family-friendly activities and live music by Harvey Jesus and Fire. Rain date is Sunday, March 24. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free.

March 24

Abita Springs Busker Festival (Abita Springs Park, 22044 Main St., Abita Springs) — Developed to preserve Louisiana roots music, the festival brings together some of the best street musicians. There also are food and drinks for sale. The music lineup includes Tuba Skinny, Dr. Bird & the Beak Division, Shake 'Em Up Jazz Band and others. 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Free.

March 24

Louisiana Irish-Italian Parade (4436 Veterans Memorial Boulevard, Metairie) — The parade rolls on Veterans Memorial Boulevard from Clearview Center toward the Orleans Parish line. Noon-till. Free.

March 24

Woofstock (Castine Center, 63350 Pelican Drive, Mandeville) — The event includes pet adoptions, a low-cost vet clinic from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m., food, beer, a children's area, raffles and a pet products market. 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Free.

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