Spanish Town was unusually quiet Sunday morning, and for good reason.
The day before, residents of Baton Rouge’s oldest neighborhood put on the party of a lifetime, welcoming thousands into their yards, homes and bathrooms.
The Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade is an event like no other, always taking a Major News Event as its theme.
This year it was the demise of Twinkies and other munchies that inspired the float designers, who worked around the theme “A Spanish Town Twinkie Ate My Ding Dong.”
As usual, I’m honored to have been chosen to announce the winners of the float judging even though it involves getting up before noon on a Sunday.
Our judges were unusually distinguished this year, with the emphasis on “unusual.”
They included: Chief Justice Cathy Childers, DWI specialist with the Highway Safety Commission; Katherine Anders, artist and mental health advocate with the Mental Health Association for Greater Baton Rouge; sports reporter and bon vivant Erin Cofiell; and noted thespian Michael “Papa John” Papajohn.
They accepted their bribes in the grand Louisiana tradition — with dignity and grace.
The parade was led by “Dancing Queen” Whitney Vann and her consort, Leonard Augustus, two of Baton Rouge’s beautiful people.
Considerably less beautiful, but enthusiastic, were King Robert “King” King and Grand Marshal Gerald Woods.
And now (drum roll) here are the winners in categories chosen by the judges:
True to the perverse nature of the parade, the Worst Float is the most coveted award. This year it goes to Krewe of B.R.E.W. for a float honoring Edwin and Trina Edwards, soon to be reality show stars. The judges’ verdict: “They featured the stalest Ding Dong in Louisiana on their float.”
Best Float Since Sliced Bread
The evil geniuses of Wasted Krewe also paid homage to Edwin Edwards and his spouse with their “Wonder Bread Fertility Clinic,” and by tossing slices of stale bread to the crowd put in a bid for Worst Throw (if such an award had been given). As one judge cracked, “It’s a Wonder they got a rise out of us.”
Best Marching Krewe
Prancin’ Baby Cakes, a dance team composed of the cutest young ladies in Baton Rouge, took this award in a landslide. Baby Cakes evidently enchanted the parade organizers: The judges said they won “because we like our jobs and want to be re-elected as judges next year.”
Krewe of Bier Bog was recognized for giving the judges a huge banner identifying the reviewing stand: “Finally, the judges get the recognition they deserve.”
Krewe of Sherwood Forest. In a stunning show of ingratitude, the judges told this krewe of their first effort at bribery, “Nice try, but we were underwhelmed by your efforts.”
This award for the most laid-back effort went to Krewe of Happy Hour. The judges said the float “was so boring it put us to sleep,” and that its most interesting feature was a sign saying, “This Float for Rent.”
Foaming at the Mouth Award
Krewe of Hardlegs. This float was honored “for bringing winter storm Nemo to Louisiana” by blowing fake snow.
Best Peep Show Award
Queen’s Float. Shapely bodies in exotic pink and silver costumes are always welcome, said the judges: “From Leonard’s abs to Whitney’s glutes, we were tickled pink.”
Biggest Twinkie Award
Krewe of Absurdity. By turning its entire float into a Twinkie, the krewe gave the judges major munchies.
Darin’ Erin Award
Krewe de Mewe. This krewe singled out Judge Erin for a special award, about which she would say only, “They really know how to make a girl feel special.”
Cutting Edge Award
The ever-popular and devilishly creative Krewe of Yazoo, the lawnmower brigade, returned after being rained out the last couple of years. Their “Lawn of the Dead” zombie presentation was a big hit, and the judges said of the mowers: “They can give us a trim any day.”
Tastiest Twist on the Theme
The Italian American Marchers. The judges said of these generous gents, “We’ll take cannoli over Twinkies any day!”
Sucking Up to the Judges Award
The nature of the One Percent Club’s presentation was revealed when the judges said that “99 percent of us concurred; Judge Anders dissented, because she did not get any pizza.”
Literary Awareness Award
Krewe of No Klue. Of this “Fifty Shades of Pink” float, the judges said, “Christian Grey would have been proud.”
Dead Flamingo in the Water Award
Krewe La Moula. Of this enigmatic award, the judges would say only, “You know what you did.”
Artsy Fartsy Award
Krewe de Gruv. “Because anyone who smashes 2,600 CDs to make a mosaic deserves something.”
Papajohn’s Party Hard Award
Krewe of Sheet. This was a personal award from Judge Papajohn to these inspired merrymakers “for keeping it real.”
Indeed, all of the participants in the parade deserve a hand (or at least a flamingo claw) for keeping Baton Rouge’s biggest annual party real, and really fun.
Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.