Family Friendly Fun: St. Patrick’s Day in NOLA

St Patricks

In the past, for St. Patrick’s Day’s…I recall drinking green beer at a favorite pub or bar, going to the party at Parasol’s, or even having a marching man offer up a kiss and a rose at one of our local parades.

St. Patrick’s Day definitely is a favorite at my house for many reasons. The first of which is the tasty eats. I will be the first to admit that the Irish heritage in my family is pretty slim, but we still love to celebrate St. Patty’s Day with some yummy food, crafts, and most importantly, at the parades! I am thinking I’m not the only mom that has traded drinking green beer for family fun on St. Patrick’s Day, and I figured it would be fun to give y’all some fun ideas to celebrate the day with your family.

Before baby, our celebration of St. Patrick’s Day would include a ride in the Old Metairie St. Patrick’s Day Parade and a visit uptown for the Irish Channel Parade, and even some years, going to the Irish-Italian Parade. Now that we have the little guy in our family, we opt to celebrate by attending the parades as spectators, especially since our local St. Patrick’s Day parades are incredibly family friendly. If you have never been to any of these local parades, I highly recommend them, because, like Mardi Gras, they are full of great throws and fun for your kids.


I, for one, love these parades because they are in March, which usually results in nicer, more predictable weather. Of course, we all wear the color green (which is one of my favorites!), AND instead of just catching beads and cups and doubloons, you can catch groceries, too! In fact, a prized catch is a CABBAGE instead of  a set of big beads!

Family Friendly Parades

Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Parade 

This parade is held uptown and is always held the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day.  This year, the parade will be on Saturday, March 16th along the traditional Irish Channel Uptown route. It’s full of floats with lots of cabbage, carrots and onions, along with more traditional throws as well as many marching groups who will share flowers with you.

Old Metairie St. Patrick’s Day Parade 

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In years past, my husband has ridden in this parade that always occurs on the Sunday prior to St. Patrick’s Day. This year, the parade falls on Sunday, March 17th and will surely provide lots of fun for your family along beautiful Metairie Road. Fun throws include cabbages, carrots, onions, bananas and even moon pies along with traditional throws like beads and cups. 

The Louisiana Irish Italian Parade

A celebration of both St. Joseph & St. Patrick, this parade is another fun even that is family friendly in Metairie along the traditional Veterans Boulevard parade route. In addition to cabbage and other veggies, prized throws include spaghetti and sauce packets!  

Great Recipes for Your “Catch”

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One of the things I love most about our local St. Patrick’s Day parades is the fact that you leave the parade with a wagon or bag full of groceries! Of course, you may wonder what do you do with 10 heads of cabbage you catch a parade? For us, the answer is simple: cook them!

Many people don’t like cabbage for one reason or another, but my classic cabbage recipe is one that converted my cabbage-hating husband to love it and ask for it on occasion. It is pretty simple and a great side to a corned beef brisket.

Smothered Cabbage 

  • 1 head cabbage, cleaned, cored, and quartered
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 pound bacon, cut into lardons (little pieces)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • salt & pepper to taste

In a dutch oven, heat olive oil on medium heat. Saute bacon until fat is rendered, and it is crispy. Remove bacon and drain. Add in cabbage, stir and coat well with bacon drippings and olive oil. Season to taste. Add in water, stir once again, and then put lid on pot. Cook on low for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once cooked, add bacon back to pot. Enjoy!

Want a lighter recipe for your cabbage and ramen noodles? How about a light, refreshing slaw recipe? I also like to make a sweet n’ sour slaw recipe with shredded cabbage in lieu of the traditional mayonnaise based coleslaw.

Sweet n’ Sour Slaw 

  • 1 head cabbage, cleaned, cored, and shredded
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 2 packages ramen noodles
  • 1 ramen noodle seasoning packet (chicken is my fave)
  •  1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar (brown or white, or turbinado raw sugar)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 tbsp butter

In a saute pan, melt butter on medium low heat. Put ramen noodles in a food storage bag and break them up. Add to butter along with almonds and sunflower seeds and lightly toast them. Put to the side.

In a large bowl, combine vinegar, sugar, oil, and the ramen seasoning packet until well blended. Then add in cleaned cabbage, carrots along with toasted noodles and nuts. Top with green onions for garnish. If you want to make this ahead, make the dressing and the veggies the night before and refrigerate to blend flavors even more. Add the noodles and nuts right before serving.

If you are more interested in making a kid-friendly recipe, just about anything is fair game with a little touch of green food coloring! For breakfast, you could have green pancakes, or maybe even one of Sarah’s Green Smoothies, “green” macaroni & cheese for lunch, and for dessert, maybe some lime jello or pistachio pudding. Also, this recipe for Magic Munch looks tasty for a sweet treat!

Getting Crafty with the Kidsphoto (20)

Another fun way to celebrate the holiday is by making a fun craft with your kids! I know I have seen some adorable crafts featuring fruit loop rainbows and leprechauns from plates. My personal preference when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day is creating something decorative with the kids that usually features a shamrock.

Shamrock crafts are super easy to make! Just this week, Andrew & I created his first “Handprint Shamrock” on a small 8×10 canvas I got on sale at the craft store a while ago.  With the help of some inexpensive finger paints, we used Andrew’s handprints to make a keepsake and decoration that will be fun to look at for years to come!

Another fun craft can be made simply by cutting hearts from green construction paper or card stock and gluing them onto a poster, canvas, or heavy stock into shamrock shape. For extra pizzazz, you can let the kids add extra accents with glitter, beads (great use for some of those beads you caught at the parade!) and/or fuzzy pom poms or painted cotton balls.

How does your family celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? What parade is your favorite? Do you have a special recipe or craft idea to share?


  1. I make a very similar recipe to the one you listed with ramen! Yum! I also like to use cabbage in fish tacos – gives them a great crunch!

    • oooh yes! cabbage in fish tacos are the best!!!

      and that smothered cabbage recipe is actually really yummy mixed with whole wheat spaghetti too! 🙂

  2. We love the Irish Channel parade. In fact, this year, we walked down with some friends. Jane loves parades, and we have discovered she also loves marching gentlemen. Not sure whether to be scared or excited about that last bit!

  3. our whole family rode in the old metairie parade this year!! it was a blast for all of us!!! can’t wait to do it again next year!!!

  4. Hello! we were thinking of taking the kiddos to new orleans for st pattys this year! thanks for the article, bc i wasnt sure if the parade would be okay for us with kiddos!


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