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St. Patrick's Day Parade: A Toast to a City

By Ed Fuentes with Pamela Rouse
Published: Friday, March 20, 2009, at 11:16AM
Toast Ed Fuentes

A resident in the Old Bank District watches out her window as the parade passes.

The Los Angeles version of a St. Patrick’s Day Parade is modest compared to the East Coast’s Spring rite of passage that showcase politicians, police, and firefighters.

Still, there is a definite local flavor growing from the L.A. affair. On Tuesday, the city’s current growth and history framed the marchers, a procession of restored cars and service vehicles and celebrities who have had roles as members of LAPD, and civic dignitaries.

The participants began near El Pueblo, then walked past civic buildings and construction as they travelled down Main. The crowd was thin at the beginning of the parade, made mostly of State, County, and City workers who lined the sidewalks wearing touches of corporate green; a tie here, a blouse there.

As the parade moved south, Gilville’s local residents shouted out support and thanks in between sips of lattes or a green drink. Faces popped out from the open windows, stories above the parade route, waving to those below.

Once the crowd turned down 5th Street, the crowd became a green fashion explosion. Hats, glasses, and . . .well, just about everything worn was green. The last two short blocks were filled with people from outside Downtown, many who ventured from the Red Line station before heading into Pershing Square.

Making a strong statement of cross culture reference was the African-American family decked out in matching vests, hats with feathers, and beads.

“Yes, we are. We are here to join in the fun, and bring a little style,’ says William Anderson, 42. “We all have to have a sense of humor with our ethnic myths. That’s how we are going to get through all the troubles we have, together as one, with a little bit of fun. ”

At Pershing Square, the crowd filled the front half of the park where the concert was held, a major increase from previous years. Street life around the Financial District was active, as many bars were holding St. Patrick’s Day Specials.

It may still be small, but Los Angeles' St. Patrick’s Day celebration is getting it’s own personality.


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