BLAKEVIEW: Easter Parades | Blake Pontchartrain | Weekly Gambit

Like so many occasions in New Orleans, Easter Sunday is celebrated with a parade – three of them, to be exact.

The city’s oldest Easter parade is the one founded by Germaine Wells in 1956. Wells was the flamboyant owner of Restaurant Arnaud and the daughter of its founder, Leon Bertrand Arnaud Cazenave. She was inspired to create an Easter parade similar to the one on New York’s Fifth Avenue. After Wells’ death in 1983, the parade became known as the Germaine Wells French Quarter Friends Easter Parade.

Now called the Historic French Quarter Easter Parade, this year’s procession – with ladies in their finest Easter bonnets riding in horse-drawn carriages and convertibles – begins Easter Sunday at 9:45 a.m. at Antoine’s Restaurant. The participants parade through the streets of the Quartier, stopping at the Saint-Louis Cathedral for the 11 a.m. mass then returning to Antoine’s for lunch.

Bourbon Street legend Chris Owens, who died on April 5, will be remembered this Easter Sunday with tributes at the Easter Parade she has led every year since 1985. It begins at the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel with a contest of hats, a silent auction and entertainment. The 1 p.m. parade passes through the neighborhood before participants return to the hotel for brunch.

At 4:30 p.m. on Easter Sunday, the Gay Easter Parade also rolls through the French Quarter. It was founded in 2000 and features creative costumes, walking groups, and participants in horse-drawn carriages and convertibles. The parade also supports local charities including Food for Friends.

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