How Was Easter In New Orleans This Year? Epic As Always.

If you've been to New Orleans, it was probably for Southern Decadence, Halloween, or a business trip.  One time of year you need to go and enjoy the city if you have not yet is for Easter.  Not only does the weather become the perfect temp and humidity before the Spring / Summer / Fall stickiness rolls in, but also the Crescent City just seems to be in higher and more peaceful spirits than any other time of year (without being overly liquored up and paraded and beaded out.  I've been once before for Easter, but cannot wait to return again and enjoy the parades, brunches and good times.  Kiri Walton for Nola.com writes …

Easter, the day that Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, is just a little different in New Orleans than anywhere else.

Sure, just like in other places across the country, many people celebrating Easter get dressed up– lacy, frilly dresses for the girls and pastel mini-suits for the boys, light colors and seersucker for the adults– and attend church together to commemorate what is central to their faith. And, like in many other places, there's usually brunch or dinner with family and friends.

But where else can you find Easter parades, including a gay Easter parade, featuring extravagant costumes and even a unicorn pony? Where else is Easter dinner a giant crawfish boil? – nola.com

But as always, there's just so many different things to keep a tourist and a local busy in New Orleans and Easter is no different.  How busy?  Well, not only do bars have some fun and festive celebrations (see some pics after the video below), it is true that every celebration in New Orleans deserves a parade.  And Easter is no exception, but the Big Easy cannot do just one Easter parade, but they need to do three! 

Easter Sunday’s lineup of parades starts early that morning with The Historic French Quarter Easter Parade from Antoine’s Restaurant at 9:45 a.m. to St. Louis Cathedral for 11:00 a.m. Mass. The parade, consisting largely of mule-drawn carriages and old convertibles, makes its leisurely, roundabout way through the French Quarter, handing out stuffed Easter bunnies to the kids, along with other trinkets.

Following Mass, participants in the parade promenade to Jackson Square opposite the Cathedral to show off their Easter bonnets and other finery before returning to Antoine’s. Awards are given out for the best Easter bonnets, Easter baskets and overall Easter attire.

Later, around 1:00 p.m. is the Chris Owens French Quarter Easter Parade. This tradition, which began back in the early 1980s, features renowned French Quarter singer, dancer and all-around entertainer Chris Owens as the Grand Duchess. She stands proudly on her gaily decorated float, assisted by elegantly attired attendants while decked out in one of her stunning, tight-fitting outfits.

The parade starts at the corner of Canal and Bourbon streets and makes its way through the French Quarter, past the Chris Owens Club at 500 Bourbon, with colorful floats and vintage convertibles and accompanied by one or more of the city’s famous brass bands. Plus dance groups and other entertainers. And, of course, since this is a New Orleans parade, there will be plenty of throws – Easter-themed – to catch from the floats and the open-top cars. This parade is a sight you’ll never forget!

Then, later in the afternoon, is yet another parade, the Gay Easter Parade, put on by the city’s GLBT community. Being nowhere near as wild or extravagant as a Mardi Gras parade, but rather family-friendly, the Gay Easter Parade takes a leisurely route through the French Quarter, passing every gay bar and many gay-owned restaurants and retail shops. The paraders ride horse-drawn carriages or floats while wearing showy versions of their Easter Sunday finest. Don’t be surprised if you see a gaggle of motorcycle dudes in leather and Easter bonnets might roar by. Spectators can expect to see (and catch!) plenty of beads and other throws.

There is also an annual Easter Bonnet Contest at Good Friends Bar, a GLBT neighborhood bar at the corner of Dauphine and St. Ann streets in the French Quarter. Anyone can join in and some of the bonnet entries can get pretty outlandish. The crowd votes for the winners, and you can almost certainly expect to hear impromptu renditions of Irving Berlin’s classic song for the occasion, “Easter Parade.” – neworleansonline.com

And those are just the three that are organized.  A parade can break out at any moment in any part of the city.

From the lense of Chris Granger, Nola.com | The Times-Picayune and other social media resources are some great sites of the 33rd Annual Chris Owens French Quarter Easter parade as it rolled through New Orleans as well as some snap shots of other Sunday's parades and festivities.   Since we are all one big family, let's mix all the pics up.

 

 

If you've made it this far, here is footage of The Easter Gay Parade of 2012.

 

And if you are still reading, never ever forget to head down to The Golden Lantern for a great time.  Look it up.  And Marsha, have my rum and coke ready!

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