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How We Became The New Orleans St Patrick’s Day Parade

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, such as Captain Phillips, Chris Gardner and Jim Morris, and hard core partying!

Partying in New Orleans
The effects of hard core partying!

New Orleans Convention

My ticket to the New Orleans convention was highly coveted, as it’s a smaller, more intimate party than in previous years. We are staying at the Waldorf Astoria, and the icing on the cake is the suite I’ve bagged 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 a variety of 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 tonight we descend wearing fluffy green boas and bright green top hats. Surrounded by stiltwalkers and majorettes, we are herded from the ballroom 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 are choreographed into New Orleans’ very own 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 to march into the French quarter. Tourists line the roads, eagerly awaiting our arrival, and as we stroll the street, bathed in beaming smiles, they snap pictures and rain beads down 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.

What travel surprises still make you smile?

Maybe you have been stunned by a travel surprise, bestowed on you. Perhaps you got engaged in a romantic destination, or even married. I would love to hear from you.

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of TravelTheGlobe4Less. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 80 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

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  1. 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! 🙂

  2. 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!!!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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??

  7. Quite a way to celebrate an anniversary!

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

  9. 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 🙂

  10. 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!

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

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