It all started with a group of friends, an idea, and a night at Radio Bar. “And you know … when in meetings at Radio Bar, you start getting really courageous and believing that anything is possible!” says Terri Singleton.
In just 13 months, that group of friends has developed into a nonprofit organization devoted to bringing something once glaringly absent to Baton Rouge’s Mid City—a Mardi Gras parade.
“The people of Mid City truly are so talented,” says Singleton, the parade’s coordinator. “There’s such a diverse group of individuals who want to be involved in our project. Everything that we have needed, somebody has wandered in and said, ‘Oh, I can do that!’”
Brought together by a beautifully ragtag combination of policy makers and crafters, with the support from local organizations and businesses, and thanks to the abundant advice of Baton Rouge’s longtime Mardi Gras krewes, the first Mid City Gras parade is set for this Sunday afternoon, February 4, at 1 p.m. on North Boulevard. The parade will end at Baton Rouge Community College, which has partnered with the organization to host a Mid City Gras afterparty as its annual Mardi Gras event.
When Singleton first approached the Baton Rouge Police Department for a permit, she told them she expected around a dozen groups to participate, maybe 50 people. At the time of our interview, she excitedly shared that there were 34 entries for the parade, and over 472 people set to participate.
“We far exceeded our goals,” says board president Twanda Lewis. “We knew we were inexperienced and learning. We were very careful in setting goals we thought we could reach, but the support has just been overwhelming. We are very proud of ourselves!”
Participants include Bike Baton Rouge and Front Yard Bikes, the Prancing Babycakes alongside children’s dance schools and adult dance groups, a samba band, a puppet band, school marching bands, golf carts and scooter groups, family walking groups, and even a “live art” float featuring local artists.
“The parade will be incredibly diverse,” says Lewis. “We really tried to make it as inclusive and affordable as possible. We didn’t want the cost to keep people from being able to participate.”
Lewis says that in planning the event, the group has tried to keep three pillars at the forefront of every decision: Keep it family friendly. Keep it inclusive. Keep it diverse.
“We’re hoping that it is a parade where the community joins in,” says Singleton. “We will all parade together through Mid City!” This is the goal, she says: to bring more Mardi Gras to this part of town and to bring the whole community together.
For more information about Baton Rouge’s newest Mardi Gras celebration, check out midcitygras.org.