Irish Channel parade returns after two years of Covid cancellations

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – It’s a stark contrast to the crowds of 2020, but two years later the Irish Channel Parade revelers filled the streets, standing shoulder to shoulder again.

“I miss it it’s nice to be back,” said Andy Epping.

“It just feels great the city is able to enjoy that culture that camaraderie the spirit that’s back,” said Austin Yarnell.

“It’s going great, I’m really excited we’ve been waiting for a while,” said 10-year-old Edy Lake.

The Irish channel parade was one of the first large gatherings axed when Covid cases started rising in March 2020.

“This is the most lively we’ve seen it since everything’s been shut down,” said Kelli Loudiere.

It was a heart-warming return for Florida resident, Kelli Loudiere who treats the parade as an annual girl’s trip with her daughter.

“Seeing the city back again it’s everything…I’m getting emotional,” said Loudiere.

“We’ve come a long way, we’ve come a long way,” said David Stide.

Longtime parade participant with a story of survival, David Stide remembers his battle with Covid 19.

“I spent 2 1/2 months in the hospital. I got out not even 30 days and had a stroke because of Covid. That’s one of the reasons why I can’t do the parade now,” said Stide.

After living through all of that, he says it makes standing on the parade route this year so much more special.

“It brings us back to our tradition it brings us back it brings our family together… oh, we’re back, we’re back. You can’t keep the Irish out, you just can’t,” said Stide.

The Irish spirit was strong as both revelers and leprechauns celebrated another “return to normal”.

Most riders and revelers happily celebrated Irish heritage the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day, which is why some eyebrows were raised when float 13 passed with rebel flag beads among its throws. Many floats are known to throw cabbage, carrots, beads, and other Irish themes.

However, the float rider says it’s not a racist symbol.

“I went to Ole Miss back in the 80s. It means nothing but Ole Miss. Heritage never hate… hopefully the ones I give it to know it’s out of love. It means no offense at all because we’re all one. That’s what makes Louisiana, especially New Orleans a melting pot of awesomeness,” said Katie Martinez.

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