NOLA St.Paddy’s Day Parade

This was my first year ever attending a Patrick’s Day event, minus the tasting a green beer during the holiday season and I can’t wait for next year!

As we made our way to the parade route a few of our neighbors reminded us that we weren’t Irish nor related to the small population of Black Irish and we would be the only black people there and we were destined to have a bad time. As we walked with the kids I tried to block out the negative comments, but their words still echoed in my mind.

Along the route there were homes decked out with green any and everything, other parade goers complimented our outfits, all of this lighten my spirit and I grew excited once again.

The parade started in the 8th Ward, now known as the By Water area, a beautiful part of New Orleans that escaped Hurricane Katrina. The 8th Ward has that romantic, sweet southern feel that sucks you in. Most of the homes are in their original state, but revived with bright colors, the oak, palm and sporadic fruit trees line the streets that are still paved with the cobblestone bricks. I love this untouched part of New Orleans.

As soon as we got there the girls whined over food after noticing the very 1st neighborhood bar had an outside set up of streaming chafing dishes, plates and silverware on a green cloth covered table. I wanted green beer and we had about 15 minutes before the parade started, so I went into the bar to get me a beer and Monica took the girls over to the canopy covered food area.

No green beer, no green beer in New Orleans didn’t seem right, so I settled for blueberry infused beer. Actually, the beer taste great especially for a person who’s not big on beer. As I exited the bar, I noticed the girls long faces, they didn’t make out well either. The food option was not anything they could ever imagine, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day the chef prepared a St. Patrick’s Day meal of corned beef and cabbage, soda bread, Irish stew, and Guinness® stout chocolate cake, nothing a 7 year old little girl would want.

They reminded us that we past a Rally’s Hamburger place along our walk and asked if we could stop on our way back. Sure, anything to prevent a temper tantrum and to agree to wait until after the parade was wonderful. The girl’s weren’t hungry at all, but in New Orleans and going to the parade means you will eat. There’s always the trucks that sell nachos, chili cheese dogs, hot sausage po- boys or we get some Bengiets. Let me take that back, we in New Orleans all outing, events require that we partake of some type of cuisine. It’s like do you go to the mall and not hit the food court. Food goes with entertainment and events here, even a parade.

With my beer in hand we found us a good spot to watch the parade that would enable the kids to catch the throws in ease. I noticed that we were the only black people in the block we stood, noticing only a sprinkle of brown people down the street. Seeing this made me feel like, maybe we shouldn’t be here, maybe this is a cultural specific event. I think the older gentlemen who were dressed alike felt I had some issues of not feeling accepted or wanted here. One by one they made their way over and gifting the girls with beads, teddy bears, flowers and candy. They gave Monica flowers and planted kisses on our cheeks. One of them suggested we all take a picture and that melted away all the negative and laid the foundation for a fabulous evening.

Black, Black Irish or No Irish the men…OMG, let’s just say my face hurt from smiling from the compliments. Irish men reminded me of Italian Men, they made me feel like a vibrant, beautiful, sexy woman.

Quite a few of them complimented me on my hair, one called me brown sugar as he suggested that I put the flowers in my Afro. He actually placed my first flower in my hair. One Irishman assisted me with a leg garter he gave to me. They Where very attentive. I had so many kisses and flowers, that I shouldn’t complain if I do not get any more for the rest of the year. I was estacic. Plus, they were so handsome.

Where did this ugly leprechaun come from, because that’s what I envisioned.

The women were nice too. They made their way to us and the girls, piling them up with all type of St.Paddy’s Day goodies. They threw some really nice throws too, scarves, toys, hats, beads, Daubloons and other things.

We met other parade goers, a lady gave my girls a bag of chips and cold drinks. We talked, traded off throws and watched the parade without color being a factor. We were people who came out to be a part of the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, ish we could have been green, it just didn’t matter and I’m happy that My daughter was able to see that.

I’m happy I didn’t let the negativity get to me, because we really had a nice time and I look forward to going back next year and someone better have some green beer.

As you can see from my pic, we were blessed with a rainbow and our pot of gold was a priceless experience 🌈☘🍀💰

A native of New Orleans, who left her beloved New Orleans to spend twenty years of living in the land of Minnesota Not So Nice. Minnesota was full of opportunities but would learn that the soul of the state and the people who made it was just as icy cold as the temperatures. After the years and my 40th birthday flew by, I decided it was time to pack up my youngest child and come back to my roots, my birthplace the city that not only birthed me but gave me life. I would not be who I am without my New Orleans beginnings. I am all things that would challenge the belief of growing up in New Orleans. I was a 16yr old teen mother of a premature baby born with a severe medical disability. And only With the help of my mother, was it possible for me to BE! I was able to endure and survive the obstacles laid before my child and me. In a city that was built by my family, but did not allow for us to reap the benefits I overcame. Charity Hospital was my second home — a building filled with miracle workers who made it possible for my daughter to have life. I have lived a life of rainy days with peeks of sunshine, that are my children, including those not of my womb. I'm the proud mother of three and a grandmother of three. My dream was to live the life of the nursery rhyme of ”The Old Lady Who lived in a shoe,” and for the most part, I did. I cared for several children over the years as a special needs foster parent. I would learn that my love was not enough for some children, but I loved them through their pain. I'm not sure if I ever had a case of true love or came close to what love looks like on television, but I had my share of men and the mirage of love. I survived two abusive marriages. Though I longed to return to New Orleans on a daily bases, I must admit my move was one of the best decisions made for me. I am a college graduate; I was a successful entrepreneur. I coowned a soul food restaurant and catering company in Minnesota for 12 years. I developed the talent of creating custom cakes after the murder of my beloved cousin Melvin Paul. He survived Katrina only to go to Minneapolis six months later to be murdered over a parking spot dispute. But with the challenge of creating a simple wedding cake, I was able to find healing. I created the House of Cakes in honor of him. Minnesota life had me pretty materialistic. I worked to the point I do not remember much, but work and handing my children love money. I thought by having the big house on the hill, a husband, having a family, the ultimate provider and being involved in all things that matter, plus having the funds to match would cure me of what I was told was a generational curse of lack of everything from money, love to even self-love. But for the most part, that life poisoned my heart and soul. I was blinded by visions fed to me by the media. I was told I wasn't anything unless I was better than the Jones's. I lived being ok with a broken, bleeding heart. Life like this did not exist in my family while living in New Orleans from what I viewed with my eyes and soul. We may not have had all the things I acquired over the years, but we were happy, we were together. Family outside of New Orleans wasn't family anymore. We lived separate lives and had awkward moments when we bumped into each other in public. I hated living in Minnesota even though life their helped me in so many ways. I felt deep down the only way to repair it was to get back to my roots, my soul, my home, myself, my New Orleans. I'm here, and I love it. Even being in the so-called Blighted Area of New Orleans and not having all the financial and material security, I'm happy. I am determined that She, yes, New Orleans is a woman is just like me; together, we will overcome and will rise from all that tried to kill our spirit. Nothing like starting from the bottom and making your way back up!. I just know in my heart that New Orleans will provide for me. There's a bank account with funds in it owed to me by way of back pay for my ancestors. And I will receive my inheritance, and I will continue the traditions and customs of the old to keep the heartbeat of New Orleans beating. I'm down in the boot, living the life that feels right to me awaiting my destiny...

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