Take some funny adult humor;. Add a dash of local flare. Include generous amounts of South Louisiana creativity, and there it is: THE most famous Mardi Gras Parade to roll & stroll through Baton Rouge. It's pretty well known around here that the Spanish Town Parade has a - umm -reputation with adult themed floats and strategically designed costumes. To say the least. It's wild. It's crazy. And "just a little outside" irreverent. So much so, literally thousands of New Orleanians make the trip up to Baton Rouge to join in, because this is NOT yo mamma’s Crescent City parade. Clearly.
Here, pink flamingos RULE, and some watchers drool, depending on the costume, and the amount of liquid refreshment consumed. And it always starts with the yearly theme, which is Drain The Perversion Canal for 2019. While Spanish Town is ALL about the party, there IS a rich history behind it. So, start your lawnmowers and read on.
1. Spanish Town was commissioned 214 years ago in 1805.
2. Spanish Town holds the title of the oldest neighborhood in Baton Rouge and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
3. The oldest structure is the Pino House (built 1823).
4. 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).
5. When Galvez officially joined the United States as a result of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, many in Galvez chose a move to Baton Rouge (NOT included in the Louisiana Purchase) in order to continue living on Spanish soil.
6. The city of Baton Rouge was a mainly from British decent, so the settling of Spanish Town allowed the Spanish citizens to have a place for their culture and language.
7. Even though much of Spanish Town was destroyed in the Civil War, rebuilding took place a few years later after being abandoned.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. The Spanish Town Mardi Gras parade is the largest (and arguably the loudest) in Baton Rouge.
11. The parade is celebrated annually on the Saturday before Mardi Gras.
12. The first Spanish Town Mardi Gras parade took place in 1981 as a way for residents to “celebrate their difference(s)” from BR.
13. Even though much of the parade today has extremely adult themes, the very first parade consisted of just a few children on foot playing instruments and throwing trinkets to the crowd.
14.The 2019 theme has a flood tie-in, “Drain The Perversion Canal.”
15.The Spanish Town Parade has a combined Driver's Safety Meeting/Judges' Bribery Dinner within the week prior to the parade, This year, it’s being held this Wednesday, February 27 at the Belle of BR Meeting Room off the Atrium.
16.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.”
17. WHY flamingos? Well, 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.
18. 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 where plastic flamingos have added to that water population.
19. It has been 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.
20. Even though stealing one goes against the law, local 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.