Photo by Wil Norwood

Cover Story: Krewe of Spanish Town

A look through the history of Spanish Town’s infamous Mardi Gras parades reveals their humble origins in 1981, when the krewe’s first celebration featured no royalty at all, plus the musical stylings of “kids beating on cardboard boxes.” Now, says current president Bill Brumfield, the Spanish Town krewe ensures its reputation as an “equal opportunity offender” never shirking from an opportunity to betray political correctness. But Spanish Town as a neighborhood has always stood apart from surrounding enclaves; the Canary Islanders who settled the neighborhood—the oldest in Baton Rouge, founded in 1805—did so to maintain their Spanish culture and identity amidst the largely Anglo population. Perhaps the krewe’s signature kitschy pink flamingos have more modern implications than historical ones, but as Brumfield says of Spanish Town: “Poor taste is better than no taste at all.” The 2017 ball, with the theme “Come Hell or High Water, It’s Slippery When Wet,” will take place February 4.