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How best to experience the Crescent City on St Pat's?
March 3, 2012 8:30 AM   Subscribe

Yet another New Orleans travel question, with a twist: We're going to be in New Orleans on St. Patrick's Day, what should we expect?

I've been to NOLA ten or so times, my wife once. We're going for a conference and after having a tough time getting a hotel room, we suddenly realized we're going to be there over St. Pat's. This is new territory for me, as I generally avoid festivals when I travel.

So what happens in NOLA on St. Pat's? Does it go crazy(ier)? Where do the crowds tend to be? Will we still be able to get around or does the city shut down like it does for Mardi Gras and the Jazz Fest? Were can we go to get food and drinks away from the crowds?
posted by 1f2frfbf to Travel & Transportation around New Orleans, LA (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I was coincidentally in New Orleans for St. Patty's/St. Joseph's weekend last year. There are some parades, but it's really nothing like Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest. There are estimates for event times and locations at Nola.com - outside the parade routes, nothing was unusually crazy.
posted by muddgirl at 9:00 AM on March 3, 2012


Sorry, St. Joseph's is the weekend before St. Patrick's day, although some events overlap. It looks like the big disruptions you should watch out for (or attend!) are parades and block parties.
posted by muddgirl at 9:12 AM on March 3, 2012


I was coincidentally there for St. Patrick's day a few years ago, and it wasn't too crazy. There was a parade, but besides for the proliferation of shamrock beads, it was no big deal. It didn't seem to span farther than a couple of streets in the French Quarter.

I've never rented a car in New Orleans, so my favorite 'out of the way' places aren't actually that out of the way... one of them is definitely Cochon.
posted by beyond_pink at 9:57 AM on March 3, 2012


You're probably having some difficulty with hotel reservations because March 16th is Match Day. Graduating medical school students across the country find out where they've been "matched" or assigned to do residency for the next 3-5 years, and to me at least, it was a much bigger deal than graduation. Tulane med student families probably are flocking to the city in droves that week. I read this question since I'll be in NOLA next year for my sister-in-law's Match Day!
posted by alygator at 10:12 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are a couple parades in the Quarter and one big one uptown, but they're relatively easy to avoid. If you're set on avoiding the parade, don't make lunch reservations along the uptown parade route on Saturday; other than that you should be fine. However, the parade is really fun, I'm not sure why you'd want to avoid it.

"Super Sunday," associated with St. Joseph's Day, is Sunday the 18th. This is the major day of Mardi Gras Indian festivities, which you should make every effort to attend. It's a truly unique-to-New Orleans experience. The link describes the schedule of events, but be aware the timing won't adhere to what's listed at all. Go to A.L. Davis Park and see the Indians lay out their suits, get dressed in them, and parade. Representatives from several tribes participate, so you get to view an amazing variety of suits in one place. Bring some drinks, or get food and drinks at the park. They have a couple food trucks and a church or two doing plate lunches inside the park, or people sell BBQ off trucks outside the park. It would be a shame to be in town for St. Joseph's and miss it.
posted by CheeseLouise at 10:43 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The city does not shut down but if the weather is even halfway decent the French Quarter will be very crowded. There is an interesting parade (if you are into that sort of thing) in Metairie where they throw cabbages at you off the floats and a bunch of the people marching try to kiss a bunch of the people watching. People get really drunk. You don't want to be out on the street after 9:00 pm really unless you are tolerant of loud and stumbling drunks all over the place and all over the roadways.
posted by bukvich at 11:16 AM on March 3, 2012


However, the parade is really fun, I'm not sure why you'd want to avoid it.

I'm not against parades, per se, in fact I plan to attend a few of them. But I want to know what areas to avoid for stumbling drunks, rowdy college students and general unfriendlyness.

Super Sunday is definitely a go. I didn't realize it was the 18th.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 3:38 PM on March 3, 2012


But I want to know what areas to avoid for stumbling drunks, rowdy college students and general unfriendlyness.

IME this is very well-contained to Bourbon Street in the French Quarter and cross-streets. NOLA locals and the police force tries to keep the parades and daytime parties family-friendly, and they do a pretty good job.
posted by muddgirl at 6:18 PM on March 4, 2012


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