March 16, 2021

Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations to Continue in 2022

Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations to Continue in 2022

For the second year in a row, New Orleans’s Magazine Street will go without a spirited celebration from the Irish Channel St Patrick’s Day Club, but parade organizers say they’ll be ready to toss cabbages again in 2022, as per a NOLA.com article.

The announcement came as little surprise in February 2021, as the New Orleans City Hall’s website clearly states that no parades are to be permitted in the city under the current social distance guidelines.

The annual parade, in a normal year, typically takes place on the Saturday preceding March 17th, and it’s been an Uptown tradition for the past 70 years before the coronavirus-era restrictions were placed on events involving large gatherings last year. The popular, lively parade usually features 30 floats, approximately 1,000 riders and marchers, and large crowds to its procession along its Magazine Street route.

A board member of the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club, Sean Burke, told reporters that the club’s leadership began discussing the parade’s postponement in late 2020, and the entire club is anxiously preparing a 2022 celebration. Though, Burke wouldn’t be surprised if the eventual parade operates in a smaller capacity since many members of the club may remain wary of large crowds even after parade restrictions are lifted.

Such is the story of many Mardi Gras krewes also awaiting their next foray into the streets of New Orleans. The 2020 St. Patrick’s Day Parade was among the first major public events canceled after the Crescent City began to see coronavirus cases emerge last year. On March 10, 2020, Louisiana had but only six known cases of the illness, including five cases that were hospitalized in Orleans Parish. As of the writing of the NOLA.com article, the state had logged 368,902 cases with 26,767 cases being in New Orleans alone.

In the present light of day, the need for social distancing seems overtly obvious, but not everyone took the pandemic seriously last spring, despite City Hall’s pleas for self-quarantine measures. As a result, many shamrock-wearing citizens appeared around the New Orleans bars: Parasols and Tracey’s Original Irish Channel Bar before city police scattered those celebrating.

Both Parasols and Tracy’s have learned from the lesson of 2020. For instance, the Constance Street pub, Parasol’s is usually the ground zero-meeting spot for the block party that accompanies the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, but the owner, Mark Bruser will keep doors closed this year to avoid any semblance to a repetition of last year’s crowds.

Bruser reported on his decision to stay closed by saying, “If you don’t [close], people will come, and it’s hard to control capacity. We don’t want to be part of the problem, we want to be part of the solution.” Similarly, Jeff Carreras, the owner of Tracey’s, stated that he may close this year on March 13th because the “safety of our staff, patrons and neighbors will be [his] top priority.”

Though, both Carreras and Bruser hope that NOLA citizens will have learned from last year’s mistakes in an effort to stop the spread.

St. Patrick’s Day won’t be uneventful despite there not being a parade, however, as members of The Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club still plan to attend Mass at St. Mary’s Assumption Church on St. Patrick’s Day. Additionally, as the club usually donates anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 to St. Michael Special School, members are hoping to find some type of alternative for their annual St. Patrick’s Day party that benefits the school. Members are considering a virtual or drive-by benefit to take place during the month of March.

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