17th Gay Easter Parade benefiting Food For Friends, Easter Sunday, March 27th, Pre-Parade Party & Parade Participants Check-in 3-4pm @ GrandPre’s, 834 N. Rampart Street. (Pick up your Parade Ticket at this time for placement in parade. You will not be allowed to join parade without entry ticket.) (www.GayEasterParade.com)
Line-Up on North Rampart (Armstrong Park side)
The parade begins @ 4:30pm starting @ Armstrong Arch, left on St. Ann, left on Bourbon, right on Esplanade, right on Royal, right on St. Louis, right on Burgundy, left on Dumaine ending at N. Rampart, with Post-Parade Party at GrandPre’s, 834 N. Rampart @ 6pm.
Easter Sunday’s lineup of parades starts early that morning with The Historic French Quarter Easter Parade from Antoine’s Restaurant at 9:45 a.m. to St. Louis Cathedral for 11:00 a.m. Mass. The parade, consisting largely of mule-drawn carriages and old convertibles, makes its leisurely, roundabout way through the French Quarter, handing out stuffed Easter bunnies to the kids, along with other trinkets.
Following Mass, participants in the parade promenade to Jackson Square opposite the Cathedral to show off their Easter bonnets and other finery before returning to Antoine’s. Awards are given out for the best Easter bonnets, Easter baskets and overall Easter attire.
Later, around 1:00 p.m. is the Chris Owens French Quarter Easter Parade. This tradition, which began back in the early 1980s, features renowned French Quarter singer, dancer and all-around entertainer Chris Owens as the Grand Duchess. She stands proudly on her gaily decorated float, assisted by elegantly attired attendants while decked out in one of her stunning, tight-fitting outfits.
The parade starts at the corner of Canal and Bourbon streets and makes its way through the French Quarter, past the Chris Owens Club at 500 Bourbon, with colorful floats and vintage convertibles and accompanied by one or more of the city’s famous brass bands. Plus dance groups and other entertainers. And, of course, since this is a New Orleans parade, there will be plenty of throws – Easter-themed – to catch from the floats and the open-top cars. This parade is a sight you’ll never forget!
There is also an annual Easter Bonnet Contest at Good Friends Bar, a GLBT neighborhood bar at the corner of Dauphine and St. Ann streets in the French Quarter. Anyone can join in and some of the bonnet entries can get pretty outlandish. The crowd votes for the winners, and you can almost certainly expect to hear impromptu renditions of Irving Berlin’s classic song for the occasion, “Easter Parade.” For information call (504) 566-7191.