The nation of Ireland has given us many great things. Its interesting and delicious cuisine (it isn’t all potatoes, don’t give me that) is one example. Baby-eating literature is another (A Modest Proposal – if you don’t get that joke, go read up on Jonathan Swift).
The list can spool over, down and back up the Emerald Isle’s many picturesque hills. As Americans though – especially in this state – we tend to hold one aspect of Irish culture above the rest.
Drinking. Yes, the great unifier amongst cultures, creeds and countries; we all like getting shitfaced. Sorry, we’re talking about Ireland – shite faced till you’re flat on your arse.
Baton Rouge, as you may know, has an Irish heritage it’s fairly proud of. Mix that with a strong sense of Catholic Guilt, and feast days tend to be pretty important — none more than St. Patrick’s Day.
You probably already know everything you need to about St. Patty’s — you drink and wear green. There are, however, some morsels of knowledge that can come in handy, or just waste five minutes while you’re waiting for a bus or after your boss leaves midday.
In Louisiana, the holiday can be used to get rid of one third of your Mardi Gras beads, or you can end up with too many green ones.
The parade in Baton Rouge is probably the only one that can give New Orleans a run for its money. They both have nothing on the parades in the Northeast – because St Patrick’s Day tends to fall on one of the first non-snow days of the young year, it’s fairly important to get out of the house.
Seriously have you seen Philadelphia’s parade? Or the one in Boston? Those folks drink like they don’t want to live. After their winters, I don’t blame ‘em.
That’s unimportant, however. Baton Rouge has a proper St. Patrick’s Day celebration, the parade rolling right by the best drunk food spots in town (George’s and Zippy’s, if you don’t already know).
What’s more, the parade goes down one of the few inclines the city has to offer. If you get a chance, try and snag a spot near the bottom of the ramp on Perkins and look at the float drivers’ faces while they try to keep the thing from tipping over. It’s proper comedy.
If you’re lucky enough to be invited to one of the parties on the route, typically hosted by business owners, be courteous and bring your own alcohol. Don’t make it Jameson or Guinness – there will be plenty, I promise.
If you have Irish heritage, you can wear a “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” shirt. You’ll still look like a douchebag, but an honest douche. That counts for something.
Speaking of Irish, it isn’t a good idea to do an impression of a famous Irish person. A proper Sinead O’Connor impression requires ripping up a picture of the Pope and, as I’ve said, South Louisiana runs pretty Catholic. You might get punched.
Connor McGregor, the Featherweight titleholder for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, is the pride of Ireland right now; you are not Connor McGregor.
His ability to talk trash is backed up by the fact that HE IS A WORLD CHAMPION IN MIXED MARTIAL ARTS. You, still working off Christmas weight and a few Irish Car Bombs into the day, are the furthest thing from that. You will get punched.
Speaking of punches, make sure to wear green. Don’t be the guy who’s “wearing green underwear” or the lady “wearing a green bra.” Make it visible — some people still need to carry on schoolyard traditions, and drunks aren’t good at restraint.
Otherwise, the same rules for Mardi Gras apply: travel in packs, stay hydrated, get a ride and don’t expose nipples around children (That goes for the entire gender spectrum. You don’t look as good with your shirt off as you think, man).