Spanish Town, the quirky, yet charming section of Baton Rouge that is inundated with multitudes of pink flamingoes year round, is the inspiration behind one of Baton Rouge’s most famous parades – The Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade.
“Buy Yeaux Bailout” is the politically charged theme of this year’s Spanish Town Mardi Gras parade, which runs in the heart of downtown Baton Rouge, and it is like no other. It is hysterically insulting to all it pokes fun at, and it is done so in the worst taste possible – all in good fun of course.
Many are familiar with the parade, but lack knowledge on the way that it is coordinated, which is very fitting to its fun-filled theme.
“The board meets 10 to 12 times each year mostly from August to March,” said Jim Work, Society for the Preservation of Lagniappe in Louisiana (SPLL) Board Member. “We have a few drinks then go into a communal trance. When the trance is broken, voila, we have a theme – maybe.”
In keeping up with the socio-politic trends, SPLL works to find a fitting theme each year, drawing crowds of 100,000 to 200,000 spectators who can’t wait to participate in this event.
“You cannot describe the STMG [Spanish Town Mardi Gras] parade without visual aides,” said Work. “It is un-quantifiably the best political satire event since the ’64 Democratic Convention. Spectators are mostly from here, but thousands come from other planets to catch this extravaganza.”
Those who attend can look forward to seeing this parade’s 75 floats, which is the maximum amount of floats the city will allow, explains Work. This parade brings out so many spectators that you can’t park for miles around downtown. It is custom to get out there early, spending the day eating, drinking and hanging out with friends up until the time of the parade. Think of it as Mardi Gras tailgating.
When preparing for the parade, many hours of, let’s call it “work” – are put into SPLL’s parade planning.
“Decorating a float for the parade requires countless hours of drinking, thinking and planning – and decorating a couple of hours, I guess,” said Work.
With this kind of planning, who wouldn’t be interested in joining the fun? Spanish Town Parade entices many, encouraging their involvement in what is certainly an entertaining time.
“Fun-a-holics have found a way to reach the towering heights that are necessary to slide into the inner circles of STMG mosh-pit,” said Work.
Although Spanish Town has residents that vary in socio-economic status, they are unified as one, symbolizing this with their treasured pink flamingoes regardless of whether the home is extravagantly large or whether it small and rented by a poor college student, trying to make a place in this world. This heart of Baton Rouge is inhabited by lawyers, doctors, artists, writers, and many others who may not see eye to eye on all issues, but they do agree on one – the pink flamingo that is the inspiration for all who live there, characteristically representing unification – if you will. This simple, tacky lawn ornament represents so much to this town, and they are placed in the lakes downtown prior to each Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade, as a reminder to all, that Spanish Town is one of a kind.
“Why Spanish Town?” said Work. “Because they worshipped the humble pink, plastic lawn ornament from which we all draw strength and wisdom,” Work said. “Enthusiasm of all the fruit-cakes that have made this parade what it is today,” continues to spike Work’s interest in the Mardi Gras mayhem.
It's that time again... I love PINK, it's my favorite color!!! ;-) We'll be out there all day!!!
Be sure to check out the Official Spanish Town Mardi Gras website!