Before we write a disapproving piece about the assault on Libya, we want to share a few cheerful views of the St. Patrick’s Day parade we enjoyed from beginning to end on Thursday in Marigny and the French Quarter. (See photos after the jump.) We were not in New Orleans for Mardi Gras this year, so this was a welcome taste of Carnival, though of a more Celtic complexion. The Irish in and around New Orleans can’t settle for just one St. Patrick’s Day parade: we count at least a half dozen . The big one was on Saturday the 12th in the Irish Channel , with the throws including not only beads and cups but cabbages and potatoes. The one we saw on Thursday night in Marigny was the Downtown Irish Club Parade .
It says something about this parade—and about New Orleans—that it originated at a bar called Bud Rip’s Old 9th Ward Bar  on the corner of Piety and Burgundy.
During this “Celtic Carnival” season, any lenten fasting or penitence is set aside. Mardi Gras  is followed by Ash Wednesday, so by the liturgical calendar (most Irish we know are adherents of a religion that observes this calendar) we are in the season of Lent, a period of 40 days’ fasting before Easter. But . . . everything in moderation.
Before the photos, a few words about Patrick  (c. 390–461?), the patron saint of Ireland. He was born in Britain but at about age 16 was seized into slavery by Irish raiders; he was a herdsman for six years until he was able to make his way back to Britain. His work as a missionary among the Irish followed a dream in which he was called to return to Ireland. A description from the Oxford Dictionary of Saints  shows an admirable figure well worth emulating:
Although he had little learning and less rhetoric, Patrick had sincere simplicity and deep pastoral care. He was concerned with abolishing paganism, idolatry, and sun-worship; he made no distinction of classes in his preaching. . . . One of the traits which he retained as an old man was a consciousness of his being an unlearned exile and formerly a slave and fugitive, who learnt to trust completely in God.
Staging area, Royal Street & Elysian Fields Avenue
[ more photos follow the jump ]
Aliens wearing the green, Royal Street, Marigny Triangle
Kilts all a-blur, Royal Street, Marigny: dancing to Celtic hip-hop
Leprechauns on Frenchmen Street, Marigny Triangle
Frenchmen Street, Marigny Triangle