We've heard many stories about St. Patrick, so I'd thought I'd share some truth about the man and his day.

According to this article in Slate: St. Patrick wasn't Irish.  He did not compare the Shamrock to the Holy Trinity.  He did not drive any snakes out of Ireland.  He IS credited with turning the country around, though.

He was born in Britian, and was then kidnapped and sold as a slave in Ireland, spending 6 years there herding sheep. He claims that he then had a dream that God told him to escape, so he finally made his way back to England.  Then, he claims to have had another dream in which the Irish people begged him to return.

He did return to Ireland after studying to become a priest, and spent many years in service to the Church.  Some scholars conclude that it is because of St. Patrick that Ireland is a Catholic country. Also, he is credited with keeping Ireland "whole" while the rest of Europe was falling apart.  Texts and traditions (preserved in Ireland) were then re-introduced into Europe as monasteries and other Church establishments were built by the Irish, who were able to do so because of St. Patrick's efforts.

What does this all mean?  Well, St. Patrick, though not having done many of the things he is well-known for, was a huge influence in the Catholic world, therefore earning him the status of Sainthood.

His day, though, is celebrated all around the United States, after first having been celebrated by Irish immigrants in Boston in the 1700s.  Instead of being a solemn, introspective religious holiday that other saints enjoy, this holiday has become known for green beer, leprechaun folklore and, in some cities, debauchery.

Locally, Acadiana has been celebrating St. Patrick's Day for many years.  (I learned over the weekend that the Acadians exiled from Nova Scotia included heritage other than French; there were also some Irish people in the mix, so several Cajuns have an Irish background.)  Our celebrations of choice include the St. Patty's Day Parade in Baton Rouge, and, a little closer to home, Patty in the Parc!  It's an evening of music, green beer, and the chance for the Cajuns to celebrate their Irish ancestry.

Connie G with JB Saxx and the Band, Wayne Toups, the Chee Weez - a combination of bands that will keep you dancing all night!  The party doesn't stop when Parc International clears, though: the Official After Patty Party will be held on the Patio at Legends and Marley's, right across from the Parc.

(Advance tickets are on sale for only $10 at Legends and Marley's (they will be $15 at the gate).  Gates open at 5pm!

Special thanks to Jameson Irish Whiskey for being the sponsor of Patty in the Parc, and Evangeline Downs Racetrack, Casino & Hotel for sponsoring the entertainment.

Happy St. Patty's Day!!