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Amazing Memories Of The New Orleans St Patrick’s Day Parade

Today we celebrate both St Patrick’s day and our tenth wedding. This day therefore always brings back joyful memories of the day I sprinted down the aisle to say ‘I do’. But, it also brings back other amazing memories of the day we took part in the New Orleans St Patrick’s Day parade. So let’s take a trip down memory lane….

Leaving the Waldorf
Photo by Antony Chodas, CameraCanada

The New Orleans St Patrick’s Day Parade 2014

It’s March 2014 and we are on an all-expenses paid trip to New Orleans. The top performers convention congregates once every two years, and is a chance to meet colleagues from across the pond, eat, drink and be merry. These conventions are a mixture of inspirational speakers, and hard core partying! And, this year, we also have a starring role in the New Orleans St Patrick’s Day parade!

Partying in New Orleans
The effects of hard core partying!

New Orleans Convention

I was desperate to earn my place at the New Orleans convention. It’s a more intimate party than in previous years, and more luxurious! We are staying at the Waldorf Astoria, and I’ve bagged an amazing suite with my Hilton Gold account.

New Orleans Mardi Gras party
Mardi Gras party, New Orleans

The company is doing its best to wow us with haute cuisine, Mardi Gras parties, antebellum dinner dances and adventure activities on the bayou. It’s been a spectacular trip, and it’s hard to imagine how it could get any better.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans
New Orleans Mardi Gras party

St Patrick’s Day celebrations

As chance would have it, we are in town for St Patrick’s Day, and to celebrate we don fluffy, green boas and bright green top hats. Surrounded by stiltwalkers and majorettes, we head into the street, somewhat bewildered to find police cars blocking the roads. Please don’t tell me one of our party has had a few too many sherbets and caused a ruckus!

New Orleans parade
Photo by Antony Chodas, CameraCanada

A police cavalcade

A sea of green floods the barren street, turning it into a buzzing hive of activity. A band strikes up and marches into view, and like Moses parting the Red Sea, we all make way for this fascinating new arrival.

Marching bar, New Orleans
Photo by Antony Chodas, CameraCanada
St Patricks Day Parade
Photo by Antony Chodas, CameraCanada

St Patrick’s Day Parade

The lights of the police cars flicker into action, the band halts in front of us and we realise we are about to take part in the New Orleans’ St Patrick’s Day parade. Whispers of excitement swirl through the group, and smiles light up our faces. Never in our wildest dreams could we have imagined that we would be part of a New Orleans parade!

New Orleans party
Photo by Antony Chodas, CameraCanada

Our motley crew of harried financial services professionals, police cars, stiltwalkers and majorettes start the march into the French quarter. Tourists line the route, and as we stroll the street, bathed in beaming smiles, they snap pictures and rain beads on us. It’s electric, incredible to be part of something so unexpected, and a fabulous surprise!

St Patricks Day revelry
Photo by Antony Chodas, CameraCanada
French Quarter parade
Photo by Antony Chodas, CameraCanada

For thirty minutes we bask in the centre of attention, posing for photos, and drinking in the atmosphere until sadly we reach our venue. Entering the upmarket bistro, packed to the rafters with beads and Mardi Gras decorations, we head to the balcony to join the revelry.

Celebrating st Patrick's day in new orleams
Celebrating St Patrick’s day in New Orleans with Jeff (far right)

Even better, it is our wedding anniversary and this is one I’m never going to forget thanks to the incredible photos captured by our professional photographer, Antony Chodas. You can check out more of his photos on Flickr.

Where are you celebrating St Patrick’s day?

So, where will you be celebrating today, and how do you plan to celebrate? I would love to hear your stories.

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of Frommilestosmiles. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 90 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money-saving travel tips


  1. It is so nice to have a birthday or anniversary coincide with a festival or event that is celebrated all around. Hope you had a great anniversary and sending you belated good wishes. The Mardi Gras looks really fascinating.The roads seem to be awash in green because of the parades. The atmosphere is so vibrant and colourful.

  2. I had always associated St Patrick’ s day celebrations with Ireland. But somehow It is not surprising that New Orleans celebrates this festival too. It is in its character, if I may say so, for colorful processions (In this case green). I guess a lot of Irish settlers would have continued their religious festivities, the essence of which you have captured very well.

    So there yet another reason to visit New Orleans.

  3. I never thought of New Orleans as a place to celebrate St. Patty’s Day, but it seems like every holiday is a reason to party there 😉 How cool that you got to join the party! I think I would really enjoy experiencing it from a balcony or something because it’s so amazing to see it from that perspective! This definitely is an anniversary to remember!

  4. Well New Orleans isn’t just for Mardi Gras! I had no idea St. Paddy’s Day was such a big event in New Orleans. The parade is enormous,even better when you had an all expense paid trip thanks to your work. Looks like a can’t miss event!

  5. Happy belated anniversary! Great score on the free trip! I can not even imagine the craziness of celebrating St Patty’s Day in New Orleans. It sounds like one radically wild time! The photos came out great! The leprechaun girl was the cutest.

  6. The New Orleans St Patrick’s Day parade looks so much fun and you’ve captured some great photos of it! So awesome! I love a good St Patrick’s Day celebration, we go mad for it in London. I just love the sea of green hats in the parade!

    • Sadly they aren’t my pictures. The wonderful Anthony from Camera Canada took most of them. Do they have a parade in London? I never get why we celebrate an Irish saint more than an English saint!

  7. WOW! What an incredible experience you had. I come from a country where St. Patricks Day is not celebrated so i would totally dig on this kind od celebration. Also, it was so great you had a professional photographer with you on your special day.

  8. New Orleans defintely knows how to throw a party and have a parade. It’s awesome that you got to be in the parade! We got to visit New Orleans for Mardi Gras and it was amazing. This year we celebrated St. Patrick’s day in Amarillo, TX and it was nothing like New Orleans!

  9. seems like you had a great fun. Green colour theme looks unique is there any specific significance of this. When does every year this parade happens?

  10. What an amazing travel memory! Looks like such a ridiculously fun time. I still need to get down to New Orleans sometime…maybe I should go during this time of year! 🙂

  11. St. Patrick’s Day is so much fun here in Toronto. I would love to attend St Patrick’s events in New Orlean’s. Considering how wild their Mardi Gras celebrations are I awesome this would be just as exciting!!! Love the pictures!!!

  12. How much fun is this? One thing I really love about New Orleans is that you never know when a party is going to break out in the streets. I love that you got to bask in the limelight during your trip. Sounds like a great time!

  13. How fun that you unexpectedly got to take part in the parade! It sounds a bit like when we attended Carnival in Venice all seven years that we lived there. We would dress up and all the tourists would ask to take photos of us and with us. It’s like you’re being followed by the paparazzi for the day.

  14. Wow!!!! This is so cool! I love unexpected surprises when traveling! We were in st Patrick’s day in the Czech Republic but nothing cool like this!

  15. This looks like great fun! I don’t think anywhere in Ireland has parades like this, in the UK we just dress up and go to the pub 😀 Did you drink plenty of green guiness??

  16. Quite a way to celebrate an anniversary!

  17. Looks like a lot of fun and with lots of Irish beer! Your photos of the crowd is really awesome.

  18. What a memorable experience to have on your wedding anniversary, no less! You look like you had a really great time being part of this parade 🙂

  19. Wow, this looks like amazing fun! What a funny coincidence to be there when everything was happening.

    • It was definitely fun but it wasn’t a coincidence. It was immaculate planning on the part of my old company to really inject the wow factor into our convention. It certainly worked!

  20. I have always wanted to go to New orleans. I even more so want to go and end up in a parade!! This looks like soooo much fun! Jealous

  21. Who would have thought New Orleans would have such a colourful and vibrant St Patrick’s Day! The parade looks spectacular and everyone seems to be having so much fun. What a great time to visit.

  22. Couldn’t help notice the theme of green. Is there a special significance of that color? New Orleans is on my travel list..would love to know more about the city.

  23. LOL – this is bringing back memories. I accidentally became a part of the May Day parade in Moscow a few years back. Great post, looks like you had a lot of fun.

  24. Oh my gosh – what an awesome experience! I love New Orleans! In fact, riding on a float and throwing beads in a Mardi Gras parade is one of the things on my bucket list. Becoming an impromptu part of the NOLA St. Patrick’s Day parade has to be almost as exciting! I’m jealous.

  25. This looks like a once in a lifetime experience, what a fun way to see the city.

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