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.

 

 

Easter Parades French Quarter 2016

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.

 

Parades

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.

Celebrating Christmas at home with Chris Owens-NOLA.com

Ah Chris Owens. The latest in a long line of FQ residents/business owners that love and care for it in their own fashion. Owens should be celebrated for the many facets of her life: the direct line to the Bourbon cabaret history that she represents, the club act that she maintains (her JazzFest show is something I try to see to just shake my head and marvel at), the decent apartments that she rents out to workers, the parade she throws at Easter, the social circle that she mothers, the building and commercial tenants that she keeps in good order, her support of different cultural and charitable events… I know my friend the Grand Duchess seems to hold her in high esteem although she told me that she has not “had the pleasure of crossing her path or hearing her musical stylings.” As always, I think the Duchess is similar to a lot of residents and workers in her point of view.
Even though I know it is easy for people to see her as an anachronism, I think she truly lives in the real world found there at Bourbon and St. Louis and has made it better. Yes, a lot of that world in those pictures from NOLA.com are in a style rarely seen, but let’s give her credit for the zest and fun she seems to throw in the pot.
So I say, rock on Chris Owens.

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Celebrating Christmas at home with Chris Owens | NOLA.com.