“In your Easter bonnet with all the frills upon it,
You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade!”
The Easter parade is an American cultural event consisting of a festive strolling procession on Easter Sunday. Typically, it is a somewhat informal and unorganized event, with or without religious significance. Persons participating in an Easter parade traditionally dress in new and fashionable clothing, particularly ladies' hats, and strive to impress others with their finery. The Easter parade is most closely associated with Fifth Avenue in New York City, but Easter parades are held in many other cities. Starting as a spontaneous event in the 1870s, the New York parade became increasingly popular into the mid-20th century—in 1947, it was estimated to draw over a million people.
From the 1880s through the 1950s, New York's Easter parade was one of the main cultural expressions of Easter in the United States. It was one of the fundamental ways that Easter was identified and celebrated.
The seeds of the parade were sown in New York's highly ornamented churches—Gothic buildings such as Trinity Episcopal Church, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and St. Thomas' Episcopal Church. In the mid-19th century, these and other churches began decorating their sanctuaries with Easter flowers. The new practice was resisted by traditionalists, but was generally well-received. As the practice expanded, the floral displays grew ever more elaborate, and soon became defining examples of style, taste, abundance, and novelty. Those who attended the churches incorporated these values into their dress. In 1873, a newspaper report about Easter at Christ Church said "More than half the congregation were ladies, who displayed all the gorgeous and marvelous articles of dress,... and the appearance of the body of the church thus vied in effect and magnificence with the pleasant and tasteful array of flowers which decorated the chancel."
By the 1880s, the Easter parade had become a vast spectacle of fashion and religious observance, famous in New York and around the country. It was an after-church cultural event for the well-to-do—decked out in new and fashionable clothing, they would stroll from their own church to others to see the impressive flowers (and to be seen by their fellow strollers). People from the poorer and middle classes would observe the parade to learn the latest trends in fashion.
By 1890, the annual procession held an important place on New York's calendar of festivities and had taken on its enduring designation as "the Easter parade."
As the parade and the holiday together became more important, retail merchants and milliners publicized them in the promotion of their wares. Advertisements of the day linked an endless array of merchandise to Easter and the Easter parade. In 1875, Easter had been invisible on the commercial scene. By 1900, it was as important in retailing as the Christmas season is today.
There are several Easter Sunday parades in New Orleans, and all have parties before and after.
The first to roll is the Historic French Quarter Parade started by the daughter of Count Arnaud long ago. The Parade of carriages and convertibles leaves Arnaud's Restaurant at 10:30 a.m. t goes down Bienville Street to Dauphine Street, Iberville Street, and Bourbon Street. The parade then turns onto Toulouse Street to Royal Street. Participants will promenade in Jackson Square before attending the noon Mass at St. Louis Cathedral, after which they go back to Arnaud's.
The Chris Owens Easter Parade celebration starts at the Astor Crowne Hotel Ballroom at 11:00 a.m. with a continental breakfast, Hat Contest and entertainment. The parade rolls at 1 p.m. through the French Quarter.
Also in the French Quarter is the annual gay parade. It starts at 3:00 p.m. with a party at Starlight By The Park. The parade rolls at 4 p.m. and goes through the French Quarter.
A Eureka Springs Annual Easter Parade would be most welcome by many, needing an aggressive female to head it up each year. In New Orleans, Germaine Wells headed up the Historic French Quarter parade for at least 40 years, Chris Owens has been leading hers for the same amount of years and still going strong.
The Routing could take place on White Street forming at the Eureka Springs Hospital, stopping at the Chapel, then Ernestos, and ending at the Crescent hotel for a party in the Conservatory.