Pride June 8-10

34411280_10156380164999337_4136195781134647296_nNew Orleans Gay Pride began in February 1971, when the newly formed Gay Liberation Front of New Orleans presented a “Gay In” picnic in City Park. This was the very first such event in the entire state of Louisiana.

Throughout the 1980s, several organizations spearheaded the annual events. The first street parade was held in 1980. In 1981, the event moved to Armstrong Park, and was emceed by New Orleans native Ellen DeGeneres. In 1988 “Gay Fest” was changed to “Gay Pride.”

By the 1990s, “Pridefest” was being sponsored by the New Orleans Alliance of Pride.

In 2005, Gay Pride was presented by the LGBT Community Center of New Orleans. In 2011, The LGBT Community Center decided to no longer produce the Pridefest event and gave all rights for PrideFest to the 2010 and 2011 local Grand Marshals.

In 2011, The New Orleans Pride Organization was formed as its own organization and acquired a 501(c)(3) status. The 2011 “New Orleans Gay Pride Festival” consisted only of a parade, pageant, and block party on Bourbon Street with 80’s pop star, Tiffany. In 2012, the festival officially became “New Orleans Pride.” Since then, The New Orleans Pride Board has restructured the organization to foster positive relationships between all communities in New Orleans.

The 2017 New Orleans Pride Festival was the largest Pride Festival to ever take place in Louisiana. More than 35 events took place over a three-day weekend, attracting people from all walks of life. The Festival brought in more than 82,000 participants, 3,000 of which were in the New Orleans Pride Parade, Louisiana’s Largest LGBT+ Parade.

Courtesy of https://togetherwenola.com/

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Easter Parades in French Quarter

Sunday, April 1st
1. French Quarter Easter parade
Begins at 9:45 a.m.
The Historic French Quarter Easter Parade travels from @antoinesnola at 9:45 a.m. in time to make the 11 a.m. Mass at the @stlouiscathedral . After Mass, participants take a walk around Jackson Square. This parade was previously operated by a group known as the Friends of Germaine Wells, a legendary FQ restaurateur who died in 1983.*

2. Chris Owens French Quarter Easter Parade
Begins at 1 p.m.
The French Quarter icon leads her 34th annual parade from the @omniroyalorleans , then it heads up Royal Street to Canal Street. From there, it takes a right on Canal Street before turning onto Bourbon Street, then heads on to St. Philip Street to Decatur to St. Louis Street and ends back at the Omni Royal.

3. Gay Easter Parade
Begins at 4:30 p.m.
The 18th annual Official Gay Easter parade travels from Bourbon Street to GrandPre’s, 834 North Rampart St. 29542956_10156087422210535_1266946249170490939_n.jpg29513122_10156087422380535_7696489678015272349_n.jpg29572974_10156087422425535_6266546642161562017_n.jpg

 

The first 2 parades are slightly connected in that the parade founders were and are two of our most vibrant and glorious women leaders, known for their business acumen but also for their joie de vivre and love and care of the French Quarter.

Germaine Wells was the daughter of Arnaud Cazenave, founder of Arnaud’s Restaurant. Wells, who reigned as queen of 22 Carnival balls, introduced her Easter parade in 1956 after seeing the NYC Fifth Avenue Easter Parade. The New Orleans parade, with horse-drawn carriages, throws of stuffed animals and candy,  Easter bonnets and fancy Easter baskets continues today.  Back then, it would start at Wells’ house on the corner of Esplanade Avenue and Chartres Street and stop at St. Louis Cathedral for Mass at noon and then to Arnaud’s Restaurant for lunch. Around 2012, the parade began to start and end at Antoine’s and became more commonly known as the Historic French Quarter Easter Parade.

Chris Owens began her own Easter parade in 1983.  Many histories identify the founding of her parade as coming after Germaine Wells’ passing, but that seems inaccurate as Wells died in December of that year. The Owens parade is beautiful and has an extensive route to try to catch a throw from the Grand Duchess of Bourbon Street. Owens is one of my favorite celebrities in town, not only for her amazing club act which I have been lucky to have caught more than a few times but also for her astute sense in building and operating a club,  managing retail and residential property to the impressive level that she has maintained for decades at St. Louis and Bourbon. All Hail Queen Chris.

 

 

Krewe du Vieux’s Wet Dream

While it is true that Carnival always begins on January 6th aka Three Kings Day, aka The Epiphany (as befits its Catholic underpinnings) always kicked off by a citywide king cake frenzy and the Phunny Phorty Phellows‘ streetcar ride, the real Carnival spirit in the city begins once there are parades every weekend which for 2018, means today.

There are parades in the ‘burbs today but more importantly, it also marks the most elaborate walking parade held during Carnival, known as Krewe du Vieux. This parade is important for more than its mostly French Quarter route, it is also the most anticipated because of its skill in skewering the pompous, the inept, and the famous fallen alike.

The theme this year is Bienville’s Wet Dream which is a nod to the 300th anniversary of the city but also to the floods of the summer of 2017 which uncovered the fact that the city had never bothered to repair most of its generators that ran the Sewerage and Water’s pumps, and inexplicably had working generators and pumps offline during the tropical summer, swamping the city on 2 separate occasions. If outsiders want to know why we view our government with such cynicism here, it may be best explained by the fact that some of the pumps were not activated during those rain events because as the SWB later blithely explained those sites (near the lake!) required on site operators to turn them and – and those operators could not get there in the flood.

I swear.

We should expect the recent downfall of Chef John Besh to be a major theme, and the new mayor who had a bit of a government credit card issue, as well as the departing mayor who seems to have lost interest in repairing current infrastructure and instead wants to spend his final months in office spending millions for a security state with cameras everywhere and a new Disneyfied Bourbon Street.

I swear.

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2018 route

This parade grew out of the Krewe of Clones which paraded in the 1970s and 1980s. Like many krewes, there was a disagreement as to the style and tone that members wanted and so Krewe du Vieux was formed when some decided that success lay with the most debased, most ridiculous, and the most profane version.

It is also known for the profusion of brass bands that they hire:

Kinfolk

Young Pinstripes

All For One

Down N Dirty

One Mind

The Pocket Aces

New Breed

Bessarabian

The Stooges

The Paulin Brothers

Egg Yolk Jubilee

To Be Continued

Hot 8

21st Century Brass Band

The Free Agents

Lagniappe

The Jazzmen

Where Y’At

Big Fun

Da Truth

They became truly de rigueur in 2006 with their parade less than 6 months after Katrina and its C’est Levee theme that was impressively hilarious and pointedly mocking of the government that had failed us so completely. I still have throws from that year as do many of my friends and neighbors. From their 2006 release:

Lifes a breach, and sometimes you just gotta go with the contraflow. So pop a cold one (pop a looter too if you have to), torch the nearest mound of trash and roast some weenies, and pretend that convoy of National Guard hummers rolling by is just another parade.

For 2018,  its king is Rich Campanella, Tulane geographer, historian and obsessive researcher of the accurate history of our 300 years. His list of books is extensive, his articles are constant and on top of that, he is a nice guy always interested in hearing an opinion or a factoid on the physical space of our colony.  Here is King Rich’s piece on the history of the route that he will lord over this evening.

Come out on his appropriately wet parade evening to honor him and the motley who take over our streets at 6:30 p.m. tonight.

 

 

 

 

The 2018 New Orleans Combination: 606-10-300

Tomorrow the Maid of Orleans celebrates her 606th birthday. In the old quarter, a group of dedicated volunteers will stage one of the most beautiful parades of the year in her honor for the 10th year in a row. And directly after, fireworks will celebrate the 300th year since our city’s founding.

There may be no better way to understand the deep determination of people here to remain – and to not just to remain but to live with ease together and to honor the history we safeguard – than the Carnival season. This one, held during our tricentennial, should be especially exciting.

In many ways, the best and worst of what we represent is on display during these weeks every year: the DIY creativity, the peaceful takeover of public space (described best by writer CW Cannon in his New Orleans Manifesto), the informal conviviality among all groups gathered on a parade route. But also note the divide between rich and poor and people of color and white people: gauge the city’s interest in litter control or infrastructure repair between the worlds of St. Charles versus Claiborne, or check out the cordoned off areas for the politically connected on the grandstands in front of Gallier Hall for the big parades. Cannon points out “the social purpose of the Uptown route parading tradition was to standardize, control and express who the bosses of the city were in a striking visual spectacle.” If you doubt it, note where the Rex, Proteus or Comus flags on homes are all located, the debutante photos (and same names) on the news sites,  the pic of the middle-aged man who will be Rex in 2018 and his 20-something “Queen.”

(And don’t forget the groups of mostly young white men who illegally camp out days before a few unnamed parades in order to to be upfront and able to push others aside to get plastic beads and children’s toys and get pukey-drunk on the neutral ground.)

Even so, the season offers something good for every New Orleanian old and new, permanent or temporary. For most, it is a season of deep sociability and a slew of political or cultural indicators of the current mood sent by the people to their elected officials.

As a Quarterite, I tend to stay here to celebrate the season, venturing more often downtown than Uptown. One reason is that the city stopped allowing float parades in the Quarter in the 1970s and after some years of inactivity, the walking parade has taken over on our streets with a great deal of style. Joan of Arc’s parade- although not directly a Carnival parade as it would roll on her day no matter when it was-is the perfect way to begin the downtown season. With its handmade costumes and candlelight, it offers a humorous, educational, moving set of tableaus dedicated to one of the saints that New Orleans considers theirs.

I remember the first one in 2008 where I met it in the Square and then again at “Joanie on a Pony,” the golden statue now found on Decatur , where the parade ends and a few dozen bystanders shared king cake with the cold and wet but jubilant masquers who had pulled off their first parade.

What is significant about that date is that it was in the depths of the rebuilding of our city after the federal levee breaks and was about the time that the initial joy at returning had worn off and the long slog ahead to recover became quite evident. I was living in a FEMA trailer in MidCity and upon returning back to it and my still-empty street after the parade, found myself smiling at the memory of what I had just witnessed and enjoying the slice of king cake shared by its krewe.

Because it honors our connection with France, celebrates a plucky teenager who heard voices and decided to follow them and resist, uses a route that shows off the Quarter beautifully, is generous with its throws, truly offers tableaus, and is made up of diehard and joyous New Orleanians, the January 6th Joan or Arc parade is royalty among parades in my book.

Turtle Parade

This Saturday (5.13) the turtles that live in the Brennan’s courtyard on Royal street will parade through the Vieux Carré to mark the start of spring.
The ten turtles that live at Brennan’s have become something of local celebrities (complete with their own Twitter account, @BrennansTurtles). They are named “The Muthas and the Othas.” The former references the five reptiles named after classic, French mother sauces like Béchamel, Espagnole, Hollandaise, Tomate, Velouté, while the “others” refer to the turtles named for NOLA’s own classics like Remoulade, Ravigote, Bordelaise, Mignonette, and Cocktail.

The parade begins at 10:30AM at 550 Bienville Street, continuing down Chartres Street to St. Peter Street, then onto Royal Street to bring the krewe to Brennan’s (417 Royal Street) for the reception, which starts at 11AM. The route map is below. f2ab04e6-1409-4b30-8721-56e4d0fb253c.png

St. Joseph’s Day Parade, March 18 6 p.m.

 

This parade involves a whole lot of Italian-American guys dressed in Tuxedos. If that is not enough, there will also be 16 floats, nine marching bands, beautiful maids. Vanessa Ferlito is the 2017 Grand Marshal and John M. Viola, Joseph Zolfo, Bryan Del Bondio, and David Greco will be the 2017 Parade Marshals and Armando Anthoy Asaro, Jr. is the 2017 IASJS caesar. The queen this year is Aubrie Ann St. Germain.Screen Shot 2017-03-18 at 10.38.18 AM.png

 

 

St. Paddy’s Parades 2017, St. Joseph’s Day Parades too

Saturday, March 11 & Friday, March 17, 2017

Tracey’s St. Paddy’s Day Party – 11 a.m. til
Annual celebration in the Irish Channel – 2604 Magazine Street. Lots of green beer, corned beef and cabbage and more fun. They are the party at the end of the Irish Channel Parade.
See party location.

Saturday, March 11 & Friday, March 17, 2017

Parasol’s Block Party Celebration – 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
3rd and Constance 10am to 8pm. Music, green beer, food and surprises. The start of the block parties on the day of the Irish Channel Parade. The fun runs from 10 am to 8 pm, both days.
See party location.

Saturday, March 11

Irish Channel Parade – 12:30 p.m.
The Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club will hold its Annual Mass and Parade celebration at St. Mary’s Assumption Church (corner of Constance and Josephine Streets) followed by the parade (corner of Felicity and Magazine)
See parade route.

Sunday March 12

St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Metairie Road – 12 Noon
The annual Metairie Road St. Patrick’s Day parade will take place at noon in front of Rummel High School on Severn Avenue, goes down Severn to Metairie Road, then Metairie Road to the parish line.
See parade route.

Friday, March 17

Molly’s at the Market & Jim Monaghan’s Parade – 6:00 p.m.
In the French Quarter, riders in carriages and marching groups. Begins and ends at 1107 Decatur St.
See parade route.

Friday, March 17

Downtown Irish Club Parade – 6:00 p.m.
The annual downtown St. Patrick’s Day parade begins on the corner of Burgundy and Piety in the Bywater, proceeds roughly up Royal, across Esplanade to Decatur, up Canal to Bourbon. The parade makes several “pit stops” on its way to Bourbon St.
See parade route.

Friday, March 17

Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club block party – 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
This block party takes place on St. Patrick’s Day and is located at Annunciation Square on the 1500 block of Chippewa. This block party has Irish music, food, drinks, and dancers, and proceeds benefit St. Michael’s Special School.
See on map.

Saturday, March 18

Italian-American St. Joseph’s Parade in the French Quarter – 6:00 p.m.
The Italian American Club celebrates St. Joseph with a parade through the French Quarter. The parade kicks off at 6 p.m. at the intersection of Convention Center Blvd. and Girod Street. It includes 16 floats, nine marching bands and a whole lot of guys dressed in tuxedos.
See parade route.

Sunday March 19

Louisiana Irish-Italian Parade (Metairie) – 12 Noon
The Louisiana Irish-Italian Parade will roll at 12:00 noon, on the traditional Veternas Highway route in Metairie.
See parade route.

Saturday, April 1

St. Bernard Irish Italian Islenos Parade – 12 noon
The St. Bernard Irish Italian Islenos Community Parade is one of the largest events in nearby St. Bernard parish. The parade starts at 12noon along the W. Judge Perez route in Chalmette – from Meraux Dr. down to Ventura and back! It consists of 53+ floats, 35+marching groups 1,500+ members and 350,000 pounds of produce!
See parade route.