On March 17, 1970, John Marchese, as president of a local and famous marching club, brought the members to the Irish Channel for the purpose of parading in the Irish Channel Parade. Before, during and after the parade, several things occurred and this caused Marchese to believe that it was time to organize a St. Patrick’s Parade in Jefferson. After a lot of footwork and a few commitments, the ground work was laid out.
The biggest commitment was from the Parish Council Chairman, Mr. Charles J. Eagan, to serve as the Grand Marshal, providing they could get a parade permit. Marchese then enlisted the aid of Joseph Fulco and together they selected a committee, wrote the by-laws and applied for a charter. The first meeting of the St. Patrick Parade Committee of Jefferson, Inc. was held on January 13, 1971, at Fulco’s Bar and Lounge. Attending the first meeting as selected charter members, besides Marchese and Fulco, were Harold “Buck” Dwyer, S.C. “Tookie” Woodruff, Gordon Moore, Thomas Naro, Hap Otillio, Jules Treadway, Scott Pete, Charles Scallan, James Carrigan, Richard Hebert and Billy Burke, or thirteen charter members in all.
The first St. Patrick Parade of Jefferson rolled out on Sunday, March 14, 1971, with 62 units. The parade was and still is a big success, started as a Family Orientated function that all could attend, and remains as such, We are told that this is the one of the top ten best, and largest, St. Patrick Parade in the United States. The committee does acknowledge for the help and cooperation given us by the Parish President, the Council, and the Sheriff’s Office, the Special Events Department, the Traffic Engineer Department, the Fire Department and last, but not least, the participating carnival clubs, social clubs and marching units, who give of their time, money and effort to put on a good show for the citizens of our Parish, and visitors from all over the World, who have shown us that they do love a Parade, starting with the very first year we were took to the streets.
Participation in the parade is by written invitation only. By virtue of a Parish Ordinance, this and other Non-Mardi Gras Parade’s may only have a maximum of one hundred ten units in their parade. Vacancies are filled from a waiting list when a parading unit disregards one of our rules, but not limited to, such as throwing of cabbage or any missile which can cause injury. Units that disregard these rules are simply not invited back again. Another annual affair is the presentation of the Shillelagh, with their Sash, to the Grand Marshal, and the Tiara presented to the Queen. The public is invited to the gala affair that takes place the Friday before the parade. Lots of food. music, dancing and good clean fun.