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In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, a look back on Irish immigration history in Louisiana

Floats roll on Louisiana Avenue during the annual Irish Channel Parade on Saturday, March 11, 2023 ahead of St. Patrick's Day
Halle Parker
Floats roll on Louisiana Avenue during the annual Irish Channel Parade on Saturday, March 11, 2023 ahead of St. Patrick's Day

New Orleans and the Gulf South are not known for their great public transit. But some New Orleanians remember a time when the buses in the city were much faster and more reliable. The Gulf States Newsroom’s Stephan Bisaha and Carly Berlin report on the region’s hopes for a better bus future while it deals with today’s transit problems.

In December of last year, we carried a piece detailing the journey of one violin. For centuries, luthiers – caretakers of acoustic instruments – have worked to keep these instruments in top form. Today we encore a presentation of One Violin's Story, featuring luthier John Keller and violinist Kevin Mah.

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, so we decided to take this time to look back on the history of the Irish community throughout the state.Dr. Laura Kelley, historian and author of The Irish in New Orleans, tells us more about Irish immigration history in Louisiana.

But before we go, we’ll hear from commentator Ronnie Virgets, who was a popular voice on our airwaves before his death in 2021. His colorful takes on life in Louisiana celebrate many of the quirks that come with living here. This particular piece recalls his early effort at being a salesman.

Today’s episode of Louisiana Considered was hosted by Karl Lengel. Our managing producer is Alana Schreiber and our digital editor is Katelyn Umholtz. Our engineers are Garrett Pittman, Aubry Procell, and Thomas Walsh. 

You can listen to Louisiana Considered Monday through Friday at 12:00 and 7:30 pm. It’s available on Spotify, Google Play, and wherever you get your podcasts. 

Louisiana Considered wants to hear from you! Please fill out our pitch line to let us know what kinds of story ideas you have for our show. And while you’re at it, fill out our listener survey! We want to keep bringing you the kinds of conversations you’d like to listen to.

Louisiana Considered is made possible with support from our listeners. Thank you!

Karl Lengel has returned to New Orleans to serve as WWNO’s local host for All Things Considered, a post he held here pre-Katrina. Besides radio, Karl has had a long theatrical career too; read on to learn all about our talented and versatile announcer!
Alana Schreiber is the managing producer for the live daily news program, Louisiana Considered. She comes to WRKF from KUNC in Northern Colorado, where she worked as a radio producer for the daily news magazine, Colorado Edition. She has previously interned for Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul and The Documentary Group in New York City.