This past weekend was a welcomed break from work ... and six days of rain! The weather cleared up just in time for Saturday night's parade in the French Quarter, the American-Italian St. Joseph's parade. Ken and I had never been to this parade before, but there's no such thing as a bad time in the French Quarter so we knew it would be a good time.
I think this week starts the St. Joseph altars, a Catholic tradition that involves altars decorated with tons of fruit, cookies and all sorts of goodies. I guess the food-decorated altars also have something to do with the end of Lent and Easter? Although I went to a Catholic school until 9th grade, I can't tell ya much more. I haven't really followed the traditions of the Catholic church since high school, but I bet half of the folks at the parade couldn't tell you much more either. Heck, it's a parade ... and a party. That's all we need to know!
As we walked into the streets of the French Quarter, the first group that we came across was the Muff-A-Lottas. For those who don't know ... a muffaletta is a local sandwich full of meats and cheeses on a large bun. It's so good! This group of women marching in the parade put their own spin on things and appeared to be having a great time. Who knew these women with a dirty sense of humor would be in a St. Joseph's parade? Only in New Orleans!
We wanted to catch the parade in the center of the French Quarter, so we left the Muff-A-Lotta women and checked out the other various sights. There's always a lot to see in the French Quarter .. there's crazy party-goers, talented musicians & artists, and all sorts of streets performers. This guy was juggling knives while balancing a board on a tube.
After walking around a while we picked a spot just in time to catch the beginning of the parade.
As the sun began to set, the streets took on an ambiance that I never get tired of. With the lights and the architectural influence of the French & Spanish, it feels like we're in another country! As I was looking around and enjoying the beauty of our city, I noticed this couple checking everything out from above ... so cool! I'd love to own one of those apartments.
A float with the St. Joseph's altar ... all sorts of good food!
I tell ya, there's something strange about seeing Jesus and St. Joseph on a float riding the streets of New Orleans.
We got another dose of the Muff-A-Lottas ...
There were several high school bands from up North. They looked like they were having a blast ... of course. They're in New Orleans!
We got up the next morning to hit another parade. This time it was in our city of Slidell, just North of New Orleans. It was the annual St. Patrick's Day parade, and it was located in a part of town that reflects a smaller version of the French Quarter. Our daughter was on the Queen's float, along with her sister-in-law and mother-in-law, who was the Queen of the parade.
It was a gorgeous day, and we walked the streets and mingled with friends while we waited for the parade to start. Yep, just like New Orleans, you can walk the street with a green beer in your hand! Once the parade started, we had to pay attention. If you're not looking, you're likely to get hit upside your head with a flying head of cabbage or a potato. Our daughter (on left) with the Queen and another friend were nice enough to hand out their cabbages ... at least to the folks they liked!
Ken and I caught a few, and wound up with two bags of produce and goodies by the time the parade was over. When we got home, Ken cooked up the potatoes and made a big batch of potato salad. We still have lots of cabbage and carrots to cook.
Gotta take a picture of the pirate float ...
Afterwards, we ducked into one of the local bars to check out the band we heard playing. As it turned out, they were amazing .. so much rockin' talent! I'd describe them as Southern Rock with some funk .. a mix of Stevie Ray Vaughn and Lenny Kravitz, but their own original music. They're called "New Rebel Family" or "NRF" ... check 'em out, and keep up with them on their Facebook page.
Louisiana ... where you can walk the streets and find parades, parties and great live music. It will always be home.
So, who parties better ... the Italians or the Irish? Well, since I'm a mix of both (mostly Italian, although my red hair would make you think Irish) I'd say they're both too fun to choose.
Hasta luego ... until then. Mid-Life Cruising!