20 Spanish Town (AND Parade) Facts You Didn't Know!
Spanish Town was commissioned 212 years ago in 1805.
Spanish Town holds the title of the oldest neighborhood in Baton Rouge and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
The oldest structure is the Pino House (built 1823).
Many of the residents were from the Canary Islands, and lived mostly in Galvez-which was one of the original Spanish settlements in the territory of West Florida (that’s where the term “Florida Parishes” came from).
When Galvez went to the US from the Louisiana Purchase, many in Galvez wanted to move to Baton Rouge in order to continue living on Spanish soil.
The majority of the residents in city of Baton Rouge were mainly from British decent, so the settling of Spanish Town allowed the Spanish citizens to have a place for their culture and language.
Even though much of Spanish Town was destroyed in the Civil War, rebuilding took place a few years later after being abandoned.
With the official beginning of Louisiana State University in 1870, Spanish Town hit a growth spurt within a decade, as the neighborhood began catering to students and faculty.
Still to this day, Spanish Town is one of the more eclectic places in the BR area, which is home to artists, writers, musicians, actors, students, teachers, physicians, politicians, and attorneys.
The Spanish Town Mardi Gras parade is the largest in Baton Rouge.
The parade is celebrated annually on the Saturday before Mardi Gras.
The first Spanish Town Mardi Gras parade took place in 1981 as a way for residents to “celebrate their difference” from BR.
Even though much of the parade today have very adult themes, the very FIRST parade consisted of children on foot playing instruments and throwing trinkets to the crowd.
The 2017 theme has a flood tie-in, “Come Hell or High Water.”
The Spanish Town Parade has been criticized for too controversial, especially in the past few years. So, this year on their FB page, they are encouraging participants to “deploy a wicked sense of humor and unparalleled smarts to be entertainingly taboo WITHOUT degrading anyone based on gender, race, sexual preference, or religion.” (See FB post below.)
Some of the elaborate Krewe floats tend to offer very crude political commentary, usually about local and national power figures. Many Krewes are more informal than those in New Orleans Mardi Gras, as demonstrated by their names, like “Krewe of Roadkill,” “Krewe of Yazoo,” and “Wasted Krewe.”
Many of the original residents came from South Florida where Flamingos were a big part of that wildlife, which carried over to yard decorations in the area. This historical tradition became somewhat of a mantra for the Spanish Town neighborhood as it grew to include more eccentric residents.
Approximately two dozen large pink flamingos made of plywood are placed in the LSU Lakes, and Capital Lake, to announce that the date for the annual Mardi Gras ball has been announced. There have been several years people have added their own plastic flamingos in the lakes.
It is a tradition to “kidnap” one of these flamingos, usually by taking a boat out on the lakes, and use it as a yard or home decoration.
Even though stealing one goes against the law, police usually look the other way when they see this crime being committed. If you obtain one of the wooden flamingos, you are given a heightened sense of civic status. CLICK HERE FOR MORE!!
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