The Unexpected Place to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

updated Dec 17, 2019
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It’s true that New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is the largest in the world, that there’s no shortage of Irish bars to visit in Boston, and that it may be worth a trip to Chicago to see the river run green. But one of the best places to lift your pint glass in honor of the patron saint of Ireland probably isn’t on your radar.

On any given holiday (or really any given day), it’s a safe bet there are good times, or bon temps rather, to be had in New Orleans. This is certainly true on St. Patrick’s Day; here are three reasons why.

3 Reasons to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in New Orleans

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1. They know how to throw a parade.

The most famous parades, of course, happen around Mardi Gras, but nearly every occasion is reason for a parade. If you are a resident, this can actually sometimes be the tiniest bit annoying because roads are often randomly closed due to parades you had no idea were happening, making it difficult to get to wherever you intended to go. But mostly, it’s a reason to shrug your shoulders, forget your errands, and join in the revelry.

On the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day, a procession of floats travels down Magazine Street dispensing green beads, heads of cabbage, raw potatoes, and bars of Irish Spring soap, while men in tuxedos walk the parade route, stopping to trade flowers for kisses.

(Image credit: New Orleans Online)

2. The Irish Channel is one big non-stop party.

This city is a true melting pot of cultures, including the Irish, who immigrated in waves and settled primarily in the swath of shotgun homes between Magazine Street and the Mississippi, known as the Irish Channel. While the area is no longer strictly Irish, you may notice the accent is a little different here (i.e., you may get the eerie sensation that you’re actually in Brooklyn). This is also the place to be on St. Patrick’s Day when the whole neighborhood turns into a block party.

Because this is New Orleans, chances are you’ll be invited onto someone’s porch or into someone’s home and handed a beer or a snifter of whiskey. Or go early and settle into a stool at Parasol’s and Tracey’s, where green suds flow freely, you can get an excellent roast beef po’ boy, and by midday, you’ll be on a first-name basis with basically everyone.

(Image credit: New Orleans Online)

3. They may have the best Irish coffee ever.

In the French Quarter, Erin Rose is a dingy dive bar frequented by locals and industry folks. There’s a juke box and you can get local brews, shots of green chartreuse, and maybe the best Irish coffee ever. It’s frozen, it’s boozy, and it’s served from a slushy machine in a plastic cup.