It was a sunny day in Spanish Town, Baton Rouge’s most diverse, offbeat and, some say, eccentric neighborhood as the Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade started rolling Saturday.
It was so sunny that calls of “Where’s the beer?” were mingled with calls of “Where’s the sunblock?”
The theme of this year’s parade was “Flamingo Dynasty,” referring to a “reality” show about bearded guys in camo.
So the floats featured camo combined with flamingo pink — a rather unsettling look.
As always, satirical floats took on the issues of the day — politicians and sex, meth and marijuana etc., as thousands of merrymakers screamed for cheap beads.
It’s all for a good cause — the Society for the Preservation of Lagniappe in Louisiana uses proceeds of the Spanish Town Parade and Ball to help a variety of worthy causes.
As is my custom, this column announces the winning floats and marching groups in the parade as told to me by Chief Justice Phil Cangelosi, who headed a crack team of judges, Whitney Vann, Tom Waite, Elizabeth Vowell and Ian Perkins.
Here are His Honor’s remarks, edited for content:
Hail to the worst
“The coveted ‘Worst Float Award’ goes to Krewe of Red Necked for various reasons, not the least of which is that it was the host float for the parade’s grand marshal, our own Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne.
“Jay is one the very few high-profile political figures who has never enjoyed being fried, filleted, scrutinized and generally raked over the coals by our floats. He’s either the coolest Republican ever or a former Spanish Town Parade float judge (or both).”
“The ‘Best Float Award’ goes to Krewe of Crime. We’re talking stellar bribes (which go a long way with the judges), great throws, clever signage and hot cops. We’d share a cell with these people anytime.”
It’s good to be the king
“The ‘Most Deserving Award’ goes to King Gil Leachman’s float by the Krewe of Bierbog.
“Gill’s wife, Hot Roxie, is a former Spanish Town queen, and everyone in this krewe works hard all year to make Spanish Town Mardi Gras the premier event that it is.”
The Italian Connection
“Hey you! Yeah, you … Italian American Marchers!
“All da broads luv ya; all da guys wanna be ya. Wasup wit dat?
“This year’s Gaguzza Award goes to a group of guys who are keeping the women’s intimate apparel industry at the forefront of American manufacturing.” (Note: I think he means they’re handing out intimate apparel, not wearing it.)
The Bribe Kings
“‘Best Bribe’ goes to Krewe of Cookie. This group of dedicated party professionals win the same award year after year. Why? Because, they have brought the art of bribery to a new level.
“We’re certain Huey is looking down (or up) with a smile on his face and a tear in his eye.”
Armed and dangerous
“Did you see the cannon on the Damifineaux float shoot out those T-shirts? Wow!
“You guys could put an eye out with that thing!
“The ‘Fear of Ejection Award’ goes to Krewe of Damifineaux.”
“The ‘Delicious Award’ goes to Babycakes. Enough said.”
(Not quite enough. This dance troupe of Baton Rouge’s cutest young ladies was a highlight of the parade. OK, I confess, I have a crush on them.)
“Speaking of delicious, Krewe of Parrotheads wins ‘Best Brassieres In A Supporting Role.’
“Considering the plethora of competition out there, this is quite an honor.”
“We haven’t given the uber-creative Krewe of Yazoo an award in a long time because they get so much publicity anyway. It’s like giving Taylor Swift another CMA.
“Still, they’re great. The ‘I Am The One Who Mows Award’ goes to David Randall’s marchers (and their tribute to a TV show about a meth maker.)”
“Krewe of Crooked Crown gets the ‘Rice Try! Award’ (for going against the grain).
“The ‘Pretty in Pink Award’ goes to the Pink Ladies. Lt. Chief Justice Whitney Vann could barely contain her enthusiasm for the giant flamingo drinking a martini.
“Krewe of Morning Wood doesn’t win anything. We just like to see their name in print.
“And this just in from Mazatlan, Mexico: The El Chapo Guzman Award goes to Krewe of Dos Suckies.
“El Chapo says, ‘I don’t go to many Mardi Gras parades. But when I choose to go to one, I choose Spanish Town Mardi Gras.’ ”
This one’s for Max
“Finally, the judges want to recognize our friend, Max LaBranche, who passed away in January.
“And thanks to SPLL, the Spanish Town Ladies Auxiliary, President Bill Brumfield, all the wonderful krewes and everyone who makes our parade the one you don’t want to miss in Louisiana.”
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.