Easter festivities in New Orleans draw huge crowds

Meg Farris ventured out to find the costumes, festivities and ride in one of the Easter parades.

The Easter festivities continued throughout the day and into the evening as well.
There were costumes, festivities and Easter parades throughout the French Quarter.

If it's a holiday in New Orleans, it's time to parade. And the French Quarter was packed with thousands today for all the parades and events.

After the 34th annual French Quarter Easter Parade, friends celebrated with Grand Marshal Chris Owens at the Omni Royal Orleans. Every year people turn out to see the extravagant gown she designs and has custom made.

"I can't find them my closet is so full with them, but I do keep them every year," said Owens.

"She's been spectacular. She's fabulous. She's over the top and what's more New Orleans and French Quarter than Chris Owens," said parade founder Sammy Steele.

Guests were in their pastel Easter finery and yes, even one that matched her four-legged friend, a tea cup Chihuahua. There was no shortage of Easter bonnets and over the top hats, and there was no shortage of people who love New Orleans like Al "Carnival Time" Johnson.

"Nothing like New Orleans, huh? No place in the world. No place in the world," said Johnson, who goes to the Owens event yearly.

And even though the celebration grows every year as do donations for charities they support, Chris Owens never forgets why she became a part of this decades ago. She said it's her faith and religion first on Easter Sunday.

"I love the Lord Jesus Christ and this is in celebration of his risen," said Owens.

Of course if it's a holiday in New Orleans, you've got to costume. And the quarter was filled with people who did just that.

"I mean, it's New Orleans. We like to promenade as much as possible," said Angie Z. wearing a flowing pastel gown and big floral hat.

"We're starting a new food and culture blog called 'The Epicurean Ecdysiast' and we're out taking photos for it," said her friend, whose stage name is Cherry Bombshell, who was dressed the same way.  

Another friend was in a suit and tie on solid flamingo print. "I have 30 suits. This is one of 30. I just, uh, I do whatever I want to do," said the man who goes by the name 'Moose.'

And if that wasn't enough, crowds stuck around for the 18th annual Gay Easter Parade.

"We do it as a charity function. All of the money that we raise, minus expenses, goes to 'Food for Friends' which is an agency of the NO/AIDS Task Force, and in the last 15 years, we've raised over $264,000," said parade organizer Rip Naquin.

Thousands were treated to beads, stuffed animals and candy along the parade route, including local celebrity of 'The Deed' Sidney Torres and his family.

"Look, I've got all kind of great things already, koozies and beads, so it's a good Easter. It's a start to a good Easter," said real estate developer Sidney Torres, IV.

And the best thing the parade goers got, was the rain waited until it was all over.

 

© 2017 WWL-TV


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