Cover Story: Krewe of Southdowns

“When I was studying medicine at Tulane,” says Dr. William Gladney, founder of the Krewe of Southdowns, “I used to love watching the old-time flambeaux carriers line up along Prytania and Napoleon for the night parades at Mardi Gras. So when I returned to Baton Rouge, I decided to bring some of that back to my home neighborhood of Southdowns.” The result? The now-legendary “Guerrilla Parade” of Southdowns, which originally began as a stealthy route through backstreets, with an ultimate goal of crossing Perkins Road to The Caterie before the authorities were called in by complainers. “Instead, the neighborhood all turned out, eager to join, and the Krewe of Southdowns was born,” says Gladney. Thirty years later, the family-friendly parade still sparkles with flambeaux leaders, dancers and hand-built floats that shine in the night—a little taste of New Orleans magic in a small-town neighborhood. This year’s 30th-anniversary festivities, which will feature a theme of “Magical Mystery Tour,” will also include a royal ball on January 28.