The Friday night St. Patrick’s Day parade in the Quarter was pretty lame. If not for the local roller derby team and fire breather, there was not much to write home about. I ate dinner with friends at the Acme Oyster House off of Bourbon Street – oysters and crawfish etouffee. And I did see a certain celebrity couple while I was waiting in line. No not THE couple: it was James Carville, Mary Matalin, and their daughters. OK, so it’s not “Brangelina,” but I’m a political junky and thought it was pretty cool.
I then went over to the Spotted Cat on Frenchmen Street to catch two sets with the New Orleans Jazz Vipers. It was packed and they went on late, even by New Orleans standards, but it was worth the wait. Highlights included: “Digga-digga Doo,” “Dinah,” a real slinky version of “The Mooche,” and wonderfully jazzy rendition of “Free at Last.” Alas, I got to bed too late.
I went over to Café du Monde sans newspaper and just watched people. I forgot about the trumpet player who comes in around 9am, plays the Benediction, and then launches in a series of jazz spirituals. My father would have appreciated that “Amazing Grace” was first in line.
Something made me return by Pirate’s Alley and the rear of the Cathedral and I’m glad I did. They have set up an enormous St. Joseph’s altar, both to celebrate this important Italian saint day and to raise money for local food banks. It was decorated with flowers, fruit, and intricate loaves of Italian bread. Absolutely beautiful. I got my medal, anise cookies, and lucky fava bean, so I’m good to go to the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Speaking of which, in New Orleans they refer to the main ingredients in local food (onions, celery, and sweet peppers) as the “Holy Trinity.” This year, due to the peculiarities of the calendar, New Orleans is experiencing a “Holy Trinity” of celebrations: St. Patrick’s Day, St. Joseph’s Day, and Easter, all fall within the same week. But New Orleans people are determined and strong; they will manage to summon-up the energy to celebrate each and every one to the fullest.