Forty-two years ago, a handful of Waveland men who'd met every St. Patrick's Day for a brew and corned beef and cabbage decided the city needed an Irish parade. This wasn't a group particularly strong in Irish roots, but like so many Americans, on March 17 they pretended to be Irish. |
They paraded, formed the Waveland Men's Club and from that sprang the Waveland Civic Association, which continued to parade every St. Patrick's Day. It became a green Mardi Gras, with green beads, even bagels along with enough stuff like cabbage and carrots to make a stew - if you were good at catching the stuff.
The procession grew so big that they started having it on a weekend close to March 17, and there were always a colleen and grand marshal. They picked a neighborhood route that took them down Central Avenue to Coleman Avenue, Beach Boulevard then Lafitte Drive.
"For our neighborhood, it was a day for families," said Bill Myers, who with wife Linda lived halfway down Lafitte Drive and enjoyed the parade for 20 years.
"A lot of people decorated their houses and yards, and had family and friends come in from out of town. It was like a big block party."
The parade rolls again today (Sat., March 11, 2006), weather permitting, but it can't be the same route. That was trounced by Katrina, and there wouldn't be many houses to pass. The Myers house is among the missing.
Believing Katrina should not stop the Mississippi Coast's oldest Irish procession, the Waveland Civic Association worked out another route with the city. Today at 2, the parade will roll down U.S. 90.
- KAT BERGERON