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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.