The Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Committee was organized in the Irish Channel in 1947. The current president of the organization is Richard (Dick) Burke, Jr. (son and nephew of two of the organizers; Dick and Paul Burke).
Despite the years of decline and change in the “Channel,” the organization has survived and this year, plans to parade with the largest membership ever (fourteen hundred plus). The organization credits its survival to their deep, strong roots. While the top root is Irish Heritage, many of it’s members feel an even stronger bond, just being from or associated with, the Irish Channel.
Most people are aware of the pre-parade mass, followed by the parade up Magazine Street with hundreds of men in formal attire.
In recent years, the organization’s activities have greatly expanded to include supporting such fund-raisers as Special Olympics; the Chrones Benefit Golf Tournament for Chrones Research; The Chefs’ Charity of St. Michael’s Special School; distribution of Thanksgiving food baskets and active support of The Friends of St. Alphonsus; a dedicated group that has transformed the former church into a vital cultural center while in the progress of restoring the art, stained glass windows and physical premises to its original magnificence.
Since 1978 the members have worn with great pride, commemorative medallions honoring Father Seelos, St. Alphonsus Church, St. Patrick’s Church and St. Michael’s Special School, and the Irish Harp.