A Piss Poor Parade

Nowhere in the country is Mardi Gras more awaited and celebrated than in South Louisiana. Anyone who knows me knows I take my born, raised, and still in South Louisiana status seriously. I love Louisiana, flaws and all. However, sometimes, my fellow Louisianans let me down, and today, some did.

Today was the 35th annual Spanish Town Parade. Spanish Town is a big deal in Baton Rouge. It’s hailed as the most provocative and envelope pushing parade that many Baton Rougeians see, without heading to a different area code. All the fun of Mardi Gras, with (slightly) less debauchery than New Orleans. Just look for more pink than you ever thought was possible in one place, at one time and the flamingos, and you’ll know you’re in the right place.

As a native Rougeian, while I don’t always make the Spanish Town Parade, it has always held a special place in my heart. It serves as the place where Mardi Gras started for me, when I was younger and New Orleans was just far to risqué for my mother to risk. I’ve even had the pleasure of riding in the parade a couple times, a few years back. This year, I was really in the Spanish Town spirit. I even begged my boyfriend to accompany me because most of my friends were already in New Orleans.

Imagine the gut punch of watch the first float come down the street, only to see it decorated in confederate flags. Was the rainbow coloring, instead of the normal red, white and blue supposed to make it more friendly? More PC? More easily digestible? It didn’t. “That’s just one float,” I thought to myself, trying my best to enjoy the atmosphere and beautiful weather. My wishful thinking didn’t last long. What actually happened was a parade of hate adorned in pink flamingos making its way down Convention St. Of course, as with all things, some of the floats were the sassy, snarky, slightly off color humor, I’ve come to expect from the Spanish Town Parade over the years. However, more floats than I cared to count were joking about things that simply are never funny, like murder and rape. They were mockingly antagonistic towards the Black Lives Matter movement and blatantly disrespectful to victims of police brutality. One float depicted a flamingo with a sign around his neck with the words “I Can’t Breathe” emblazoned across it. Another mocked police brutality victim Freddie Gray by including him in a list as “Freddie Grey Goose.” What is funny about a man being choked to death by the police? Where is the humor in a man being placed in the back of a police vehicle and thrown around so violently that his spine was almost severed? I am not amused.

No one involved in the making of these floats thought, “Maybe this is a bad idea”? No one aboard those floats thought, “This isn’t funny”? No one realized that some issues just aren’t jokes? Not to speak up is to be complicit. To accept what I witnessed as the Spanish Town Parade today is to accept outright racism and I will not stand for it.

Parades are public events, for public enjoyment. The ENTIRE public. If Spanish Town was for “whites only”, someone should have posted a sign. I’m sure some residents still have a sign or two stored, just in case. But since there was no sign, and no notice that my blackness would be under attack, it shouldn’t have been. I shouldn’t have had to look at the black children around me and wonder if they recognized what they were seeing. I shouldn’t have had to feel like an outsider in my hometown.

Mardi Gras and the whole carnival season has been regarded as a time when parade goers could just have fun, breathe and get a little crazy. Today was not a fun experience. What I saw today was a far cry from the good, moderately clean fun I have come to love and expect from Spanish Town. My heart broke on the parade route today. I was disgusted by many of the krewes and the contempt parade organizers allowed to be shown in general, but to the black community, specifically. My boyfriend and I left early. I was over it. I was tired of the disrespect and the ridicule. I didn’t know it when I woke up this morning, but today was likely my last Spanish Town Parade.

I want to believe that change is possible. I want to believe that we, as a nation, are progressing. I want to believe that, eventually, all of America will be safe and accepting of all people, regardless of race, gender, or religion. I want to believe it, but the evidence seems to point to the contrary.

 

106 thoughts on “A Piss Poor Parade

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  1. I really feel you on this. I really loved this parade 2 years ago. But yesterday was just sad. I saw a black man go up to a float for beads and the young women rolled her eyes and turned her head and began to drink Fire Ball whiskey. At the parade they use to throw nice beads to everyone but I saw they were only giving the nice beads to certain people. It was just pitiful.

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    1. So true I thought it was just me. So much hate and ignorance. My daughter and I went and some threw to the kids on both sides of us. The rebel flag took the cake also. So sad and without us a lot of things they enjoy would not be possible.

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      1. Really……..what part of American heritage don’t you understand? We have the freedom of speech…it’s a fricking parade…instead of BET can we have a WET? People get over yourselves…EVERYONE has rights!!! Y’all are NOT special.

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      2. For the Anonymous person who replied with the most idiotic “Why can’t we have WET”. I think we’ve had quite a bit of that. If you have not learned enough history of this country’s misdeeds against African Americans than you are certainly ill informed. The statement that many of the things in this country would not be possible without them is accurate. This country was build on the backs of slave labor and that is simply a fact. To tell someone to get over themselves when they stand up for their own rights is basically a reminder to “remember your place”. We have had a civil rights movement and a civil war in this country. Both times, fairness and equality won. If anyone needs to be reminded of that, it sounds like it’s you. And for those of you that had to put up with what sounds like blatant racism at the parade, I am sorry. Obviously, we still have a long, long way to go.

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      3. There is a way to deal with this foolishness. Find out who the organizers of this parade was and have their employers, employees, and co-workers know who they work with and for.No one has to fight with words, Let the organizers know your are not standing for it because it is a public event and all races will attend. Some things are not ethical and this wasn’t report it to the proper authorities and that will handle that.

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    2. I thought it was just me, they were picking out all the white people to give something to and the white kids that’s why i don’t usually don’t attend parades because they are not for us black people.

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    3. I think the person with the WET comment was implying that racism is a two-way street. It shouldn’t be that only “black lives matter” or only “white lives matter”- it should be that ALL lives matter. How can people not understand that saying “black lives matter” is one of the most racist things to say. I can only say that “ALL lives matter” so many times. The more we try to label whose life is valued more or matters more, the more we force segregation onto ourselves as a nation all over again. That would mean that the things our ancestors fought for were for absolutely nothing. I honestly don’t understand how people don’t see that being a two way street.

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      1. You’re completely missing the point. “Black Lives Matter” is not an elevation of black lives above others, it is pointing out that black lives are constantly under attack in our society, and is a reminder that these lives matter. It is a statement of fact – not an attack on other groups.

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      2. I reply to you, because I believe you are sincere in your attempt to understand. While you are correct that all lives matter, the phrase “black lives matter,” doesnt go against that. It’s the equivalent of someone saying that John has cancer so he needs our support. That doesn’t mean Suzy who is healthy doesn’t need support as well. It simply means there is a pressing issue which John is dealing with . It is the same way in society. The cancer being that several entities, law enforcement being the main one, treat black men’s lives as useless. So that particular cancer needs to be addressed, however you are correct all lives do matter. It just is already understood that some matter, so stating it would be redundant.

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      3. We say it because we don’t believe you know that black lives matter. White lives have always matter hasn’t it? Or are your criminals being executed in the street unarmed before a trial of their peers is even possible.

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      4. How is saying black lives matter racist? Black people are concerned with the lives of the many African American youths who are being slaughtered even by those who suppose to be protecting them, and when a Caucasian gentlemen marches around in an African. American community with an assault rifle for days. When the owner of a black business reports it to the authority he is treated as a criminal and is harrassed by the authorities. Yes BLACK LIVES MATTER. No it doesn’t seem as if black lives matter to whites and this is not a sudden approach to judgement, but an entire history of abuse, neglect, ill treatment, and murder of the lives of African Amemricans. This is the reality of why African Americans feel so threatened.

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      5. Yes…ALL lives matter. But I don’t recall seeing the misfortune over the last few years especially with police….happening to anyone other than blacks! It’s now women too for crying out loud. THATS the reason for the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Not saying that anyone else’s life isn’t important but as black people we have been wrongfully killed & no one has had an consequences for it.

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      6. I think the best thing to make others understand is to say black lives matter too. When the people in Oregon are at day 39 of a stand off it is still called an occupation while any other race would have been stormed with casualties, we can see the difference. When police officers fire upon children and jump on to a man for illegally selling cigarettes until he dies there is a problem. While I don’t want the people in Oregon harmed there is an obvious double standard.

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      7. Someone please help me… a lot of people seem to see #Onlyblacklivesmatter when all I see is #blacklivesmatter. The former promotes the idea that black lives matter more than others. The latter promotes the idea that we are living in a nation where black lives seem to matter less than other lives based on the social and legal responses to black deaths. ALL lives matter, but we are focusing on black lives right now because these are the ones society devalues.

        So what am I missing? Why do so many people read an invisible “only” before “blacklivesmatter”…?

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    4. I’m that woman that you saw. I was very surprised to read this because my version of it was different. I’ll tell you, hoping that maybe you’ll understand and feel a bit better, but if not, that’s ok. Our float had been stopped for what seemed like at least 10 minutes, and we had thrown much more to that specific section than we would if we had been rolling. Yet, people kept asking for beads. I remember that man walking up, and yes, I did roll my eyes, thinking “didn’t you notice we’ve been sitting here and have stopped throwing so we can save stuff for the rest of the parade?” Then a couple of other guys came up and asked for beads. I wasn’t going to give them any, but then I saw that he had a bottle of alcohol, and I had forgotten mine, so I asked him for a shot in exchange for a bead. Maybe not my classiest move, but I had no idea it was racist. In reading all of these comments, I’m wondering if I somehow threw more to white people without realizing it. I have a feeling that the case may be that people throw to people that look like them just as an impulse. For instance, since I’ve had a child, I throw to more people with small children.

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      1. Thank you for responding. I actually hate going to Mardi Gras parade because time and again I see the discrimination. I went this year after about a decade only because I have foreign exchange students living with me and I wanted them to experience Mardi Gras. There was an obvious difference in what was given and thrown to the two white girls that I had brought with us. Everything I caught I was giving to the two girls anyway so I just paid it no attention. However one of the girls made the comment that she saw one of the float riders go to handle stuffed animal to a little black boy only took pull it from him at the last minute and handed to the white girl next to him. All I could say was welcome to the south. It makes me so sad to think of a place that I love so much still stuck in a bad period of our history. You may not see it as you were being racist and you probably want but when you are constantly being treated differently it’s hard to think of yourself is not being discriminated upon. Thank you for clarifying your particular situation but again that doesn’t justify the whole parade.

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      2. As someone who is part of another Krewe, Seems like you choose who to give your beads to. You didn’t penalize him because you didn’t pace yourself, didn’t plan for a huge crowd, and pimped your throw for a drink.
        But in reading all the comments, this commentary is something though should take back to your next meeting. Hopefully it’s enlightening and some things will be changed

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  2. You are not alone…i noticed the confederate flags….im like wait a minute..i brought 7 kids to this parade on hopes of having a great time..they never noticed…i was wondering what the hell was going on..now i know….

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  3. I’M TRULY LOST FOR WORDS. THE HATRED IS SO DEEP DOWN IN THEIR BONES, THEY NEED TO ROT…AND EVEN THOUGH IT SAYS SPANISH TOWN, I’M SURE THEY ARE ALL HILLBILLIES!!! WE MUST BE MORE INVOLVED!!

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    1. Please do not call them hillbillies…..not all “hillbillies” are ignorant…..I am considered a hillbilly because I’m from Kentucky and I’m nothing like that.

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      1. This is the world we live in. Nothing has changed. Hurt people, Hurt people. The crucified Jesus Christ, not to compare any of us to Him. But if they did that to Him, who are we? We are the people whose back they built this nation on. You have choices, don’t participate. Black or white, you have a choose to not get involved. Black Live MATTER! Always have and always will. You have to make yourself important. They are who they are, nothing will change, they still wear masks that hide!

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  4. Thank you for sharing this post. As a fellow native of Baton Rouge, I am sad. Some thoughts and behaviors really haven’t changed from the 1960’s in which I was reared. The hatred still lives, not just in Baton Rouge, but in many places. I pray for the needed safety. I pray that the hearts will be change of the abusers and those who knowingly, or unknowingly, inflict the hurt. But, most of all, I pray that those hearts who have changed will have the strength and courage to speak up against their neighbor’s hurtful acts. Evil continues to happen when good men and women do and say nothing.

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  5. Last Saturday I took my ten year daughter and her two friends to the Orin parade all most every float look past them and threw to the white boy beside them they ask me why that happining I didn’t know what to say they hardly caught any thing it was a quiet ride home I will never bring my child again

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    1. That is so true I attended the Orion last Saturday and was standing up front right by the whites and they put the stuff animal and lighted wand in their hands and look over my great grandaughter a three -year old just waving her hands. And afar as the Spanish Town parade I haven’t attended one since they threw chicken feet off a float.So disgusting! !!

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      1. I though i was the only one who caught that , we went this year after not going for a few years … bc they were giving black ppl the Zulu spears and throwing pieces of half eaten chicken at black ppl ! We went this year and I cant truly say i felt racism because there were so many ppl and we were like 4 deep . there were little white kids next to us and they didnt get much … it really hard to say but that last parade the chicken throwing was definitely racist and all the spears as we walked over several streets were in the hands of black kids ppl ….

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    2. Same thing happened to me and mom, we went because we haven’t been in a couple of years and we hardly caught anything. They’d look in our face and wouldn’t throw a thing. Only reason we got what we did is because we knew someone on one of the floats and they gave us a sack full of beads, we ended up leaving early and we probably won’t be back. And we’ve been stop going to Spanish Town for the reasons stated above, Krewe of Artemis is by far the best and only parade we’ll go to and they’ve been that way since they 1st came here after Katrina.

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  6. This has been happening for years that’s why me and my family stop attending. I noticed on several occasions where my kids would be standing right there and instead of them throwing them beads, they would overlook them and throw to their own…..racism is becoming more prevalent than we want to believe, just plain sickening.

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  7. I noticed the same things as several floats passed by. It a damn shame how there they are now days. But they need to know it doesn’t matter what color, race , or gender you are. We all deserve respect and yesterday they just disgusted me. With all the disrespectful things they had on the floats. But I did stayed until the end, but they need to wake up because all Black Lifes Matter!!

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  8. I noticed the same behavior last year as well which is why i will never return. I took my son to boo at the zoo and at many stations they would give him peppermints, but when the white children came behind us I observed that they were given various assortments of candy and toys. Needless to say I was deeply saddened.

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  9. Well I am not surprised to hear these things from Louisiana,when the So Called Superior Race has forgotten God what else can you expected? Yesterday my family didn’t do parades,we volunteered at St Vincent DePaul.We had a joyful time when ppl put Christ first a change will come don’t let sinful ppl without knowledge of Good ruin your tradition.instead just give it to God pray for them because in the end they will need it!

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  10. Sound like to me black fold we need to start our own Mardi Gras parade and make it so big we won’t ever have to worry about this type of foolery again.

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      1. Hello tammy…please do I jus saw q video a African American put on IG….saying look yall look how they do us…smh…it truly is a shame….

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    1. Yes because segregation solves everything. Are you even serious? Foolery is thinking you can go backwards to a time where you separate races and that makes things better.

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      1. When we had our own, white folks destroyed it. When we say we need our own or should have our own, white folks say we’re causing divisions. You can’t have both ways…. FYI, black people in New Orleans have their own parade: NOMTAC.

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    2. Have you ever heard of Zula?. You should start one in BR. Zula is the best parade in the whole New orleans procession. Ashamed that whites still act that way and. Embarrassing. I am sorry that my race is so heartless and ignorant.

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      1. I’ve never heard of Zula because there is no such thing. Maybe you need to pick up a book or learn how to use google. It’s Zulu and there is a history behind it being that it was created for the common man. You can’t just start one in Baton Rouge, it’s an actual Krewe and you can’t rip them off or steal it.

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      2. Zulu. We have to start something with a different name. Zulu owns the right to use the name. But great idea. Gus Young has a mardi Gras. Let’s improve on it not recreate it.

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  11. Wow, this is heartbreaking! Although I am a native Baton Rougian,I’ve been a Houstonian for 10 yrs now and always thought the parade was eccentric but not blatant HATE! It never seems to amaze me how in the US we have terrorist from all nationalities who have successfully targeted Americans and in the SOUTH we are still fighting the black versus white war….

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  12. Obviously you don’t GET Spanish Town Mardi Gras. It’s not a parade where people show HATE. It’s a parade where people of all types come together in a silly, wacky, crazy, tacky, and naughty atmosphere, making light of some of the things around us in the world. Not to belittle anyone or anything, just to take a deep breath and acknowledge what’s going on, but in a non-serious way. No hate or racism at all. Think about it. The parade pokes fun at ANYTHING and ANYONE… All in fun… Politicians, celebrities, whites, blacks, Cajuns, gays, zombies, rednecks, women, men, animals, various body parts, and the list goes on. And all of these people (yes even the zombies) are IN the parade and AT the parade. TOGETHER. All partying and having a fun time TOGETHER. Getting away from the worlds troubles for few hours. As you know, sometimes we just have to laugh. AND contribute THOUSANDS & THOUSANDS of DOLLARS (OVER $90,000 THIS YEAR ALONE) to Baton Rouge charities.
    Check out the article (link below) for accurate information and more on the history of where the parade started and how it grew over the years.
    If you choose to have a chip on your shoulder that’s your problem, but Spanish Town Mardi Gras is NOT out to get you. That’s your own doing.
    PS: I didn’t get many beads either. Should I be offended that beads & toys were being thrown to the 2 little girls next to me instead? I think not. By the way, 1 was black, and 1 was white. They BOTH got TONS of stuff either thrown to them or given to them by those of us standing near them.
    http://www.countryroadsmagazine.com/culture/profiles-people-places/history-of-spanish-town-parade

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    1. Thank you for your response ,,, Nicely written ,,, I don’t know where these Folks were but where I was there was a nice bunch of Folks of every race , gender , background and sexual Orientation , , I am white and I do not believe I danced with a single white person all day ,, should MY White Folks be offended ,, I think not because we just don’t view the world around us that way ,.. I took the chip off my shoulder years ago ,, Not My Circus , Not My well I better not write the rest I may offend somebody ,, REALLY ,,, HAPPY MARDI GRAS EVERYONE ,,

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    2. I’m going to have to call B.S. here, because I have yet to see the parade making fun of murder in any other context. You’re right, it’s wacky and naughty and NSFW and that’s what so many of us love about it. But “naughty” is hardly the word for mocking an ongoing epidemic of targeted violence. Show me the float that mocks the people who were shot in the movie theater in Lafayette. It ain’t there because there would have been an OUTCRY. This may not be active, conscious hate, but it certainly is the product of folks who see Black life as less valuable, and more open to mockery, than white life. The “we make fun of everyone” argument is a way of putting your head in the sand.

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      1. Excellent rebuttal! No Eiffel Tower with grandest hanging from it to depict the murderous bombing in Paris? No floats designed like schoolhouse with bloodied children hanging out of windows? It seems the distasteful isn’t very inclusive but specifically targeted at certain tragedies vs othrrs.

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    3. Although maybe not intentional, this comment is still offensive! Because it doesn’t matter who put the chip there, it being there is the problem. No one thinks all jokes are funny..especially when they are the subject of the joke. And “our own doing “…really? Read your history on “our own doing!” We never asked to be hated, nor asked to have to defend ourselves from hatred! And for you people who probably had to give to the little black girl because the little white girl caught everything..go figure. But it didn’t make the chip go away!!

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    4. What float did you see that made fun of any other race? And at what point is someone being killed funny? You can explain it anyway you like, but you know damn well that it is offensive. And if you think it’s funny then shame on you.

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    5. I agree totallyPAIGE!!. Maybe these people got as much or alittle less in catching beads and little animals but these racist as you call them ..,bought these beads and stuff animals with their OWN money. Average spent on stuff your whining about is anywhere from $1000.00- til and they have a right to give what they want to give and to who they want to give. They pay to get in this club and give to needy… But shame on them for not throwing at you and you getting what you feel you should get. You call them racist, I call you greedy and ungrateful. As far as the flag… That was your great grand parents and this day and age the flag doesn’t affect you in anyway but you keep shoving it in our white faces. We are wanting to leave the past in the past but also learn what happen in history but you say it’s discrimination. Now you want our history (the statues ) taken down. We owe you nothing and as far as a few beads ….. Get over it. By the way ZULU you don’t hear us whining about getting “no coconuts” EVER Remember you have to be black to get those. Oh the St Patrick day parade is coming up and if your not IRISH you will most likely not get a lot there either but it won’t be because your BLACK.
      THE BEST WAY TO GET PAST RACISM IS STOP CLAIMING THAT it’s always racists when y’all don’t get enough. Shame on all of you because you didn’t get what you felt you deserved. Hey ask Obama, he give it to ya

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      1. You are just as racist too and for your information whites get just as many coconuts as blacks we don’t discriminate like y’all racist asses so keep that comment to yourself

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    6. I believe the point you’re hearing in number is the point you’re choosing to dismiss for whatever readon, there is NO TAKING LIGHTLY OF LIVES BRUTALLY LOST TO VIOLENCE AND HATE, to include every life ever lost under the banner of a flag that was erected and flown in hate.

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    7. I apologize this is so long, but I’d like to clarify my earlier post. I stated what I personally witnessed and experienced over the many years I’ve attended Spanish Town. I’m sorry if you were insulted, but I personally did not see the floats you refer to that mocked death or threw chicken, any that intentionally ignored black people, or anything like that. I don’t question you saying they were there. I was just trying to catch beads and didn’t really see all the themes. What I did see was people of all shapes, sizes, & colors catching beads. I also saw many people (including myself) that weren’t getting beads. We were all waving our hands, jumping up and down, looking them in the eyes, and screaming for them to throw us something, but there are thousands of people all cram-packed together. People on the floats are trying to untangle beads and throw while the float is moving. It’s not as easy as you may think to pick and choose. I’ve had people look like they were throwing to me, and when the beads go to someone else I’m bummed, but not insulted. Bead throwing is not very accurate. It’s all part of parade-going. Catching beads is hit and miss. I will say that sometimes when people know ahead of time that relatives or people they know (especially kids) will be in a certain spot, they will bring a really nice throw for them. We’ve experienced this, but most of the time they don’t see you in time or the throw makes it to someone else’s hands. Darn, but oh well. Also, for the record, I personally agree that some of the float themes cross the line. There have been themes over the years that insult me or strike a nerve with me as just not right, and I’m surprised someone had the nerve to use certain subject matter. However, that is their right, bad judgement, whatever. It’s Mardi Gras, a time for craziness, so I just shrug it off, realizing these people are really not trying to maliciously be mean. A lot of them are actually making fun of themselves! They’re just trying to push the envelope and sometimes go too far I guess. Spanish Town is known for pushing the envelope, but aside from all the craziness, the parade contributes $1,000’s to community charities and this money benefits all types of people, regardless of race. If this parade group was really racist do you think they would go out of their way to give to others, including the ones that accuse them of racism?

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      1. No one was throwing chicken. I’m pretty sure if half eaten chicken legs were being thrown at any black person, there would have been a riot. That simply did not happen.

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  13. A fellow Spanish Town rider/board member and friend of mine posted your blog post to his Facebook page. I read your post and felt the need to reply to you. My friend is white. I’m a half spanish/italian immigrant female who’s been in the US (legally) for over 50 years. I am truly saddened that you felt discriminated against. Our float deliberately throws to ALL children (the “better” throws are reserved for them as a matter of fact- footballs, plushies, dolls, etc).

    I personally look each parade-goer in the eye (young, old, black, white, male or female) and make sure I engage with them before I throw anything at all. Pointing to someone and giving them a thumbs up if they catch beads/whatever is being tossed out of the float successfully. That’s what makes it fun- at least for me. I threw to all races yesterday. Our float theme was “Make America Pink Again”- pink as in “commie pinko” or “pink” as in “LGBT”. None of us are communists or LGBT as far as I know.

    As to some of the themes you saw on the floats yesterday (confederate flag themes) all I can say is this: Spanishtown Mardi Gras has always been and will continue to be a completely irreverent and envelope-pushing parade. By that I mean float owners and Krewe members will go out of their way to be outrageous each and every year. Sure, some of the themes on these floats will offend some people but that IS the entire point of this organization (who, by the way, donated close to $100K collected during Mardi Gras 2014 to local Baton Rouge charities).

    The same friend of mine who sent me this blog post nominated Shelby Holmes- a black member of the Baton Rouge community who was shot dead for no reason at all coming home from work in October 2013- to Honorary king of Spanish Town Mardi Gras in 2014. Another white board member had his life saved by having Shelby’s kidney donated to him.

    I’ve been involved with Spanishtown since 2009.. My late husband was a founding member until his death in 2012. He and his videographer- a black man with his own company off Government Street- were best friends since the 70’s. They worked together taping/photographing over 25 years of Spanish Town balls and parades. And we all grew up in the same generation- 60’s/70’s South Louisiana.

    I cannot speak for every single Spanish Town participant but I can say MOST of these people- white, black or Latino- are some of the kindest people I know. We come together every Mardi Gras, blow tons of money during the season and then turn around and give it away to the local community.

    I hope you come to the next parade.

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    1. Irreverance does not equal a “pass” to make humor of murder, brutality, rape, etc. At the expense of any group. If there were themes of castration draped on a rainbow blow up doll, would you consider that harmless fun as well? Or maybe a float shaped liked a cargo train with a mock gas chamber and float riders dressed in Third Reich replica uniforms. Usually “well-meaning” people make themselves feel better by stating such insensitive things. Perhaps you can bring all of your intentions and “we’re just kidding” speeches to the victims of these very real atrocities and explain to them and the rest of us how harmless and comical…even satiric it is. #whiteprivilegeknowsnobounds

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      1. Out of curiosity, what exactly would it be acceptable to make humor of? Couldn’t one argue that ANY target of satirical humor could be offended by being trivialized by the satire?

        Who’s to say, for instance, whether the “I can’t breathe” float was satirizing the victim, or the cops who killed the man? Who’s to say that the confederate flag float wasn’t a (perhaps poorly executed) satire of the “heritage not hate” rednecks who defend the flag despite its clear connotations of racial superiority?

        It may well be that there are some racists among some parade participants. But considering not getting adequate throws proof of broad racism is outright silliness. I’m about as white and white-looking as you can get, and I can’t count the number of parades where I didn’t catch much of anything. I know it’s disappointing to a child who goes to a parade and doesn’t get much (I’ve been there myself, over 40+ years of going to Mardi Gras parades) but life in general is full of disappointments. What do you tell your child when he goes to school and other kids have fancier sneakers than he does, or when other kids seem to have an endless wardrobe of different outfits compared to him? Maybe we should just ban throws and put up fencing around the entire parade area with one entrance and give every entrant a bag of beads so that everyone gets treated the same.

        Like

      2. There is nothing politically correct about this parade, that is also the point of this parade. Last year was pushing envelope and this year pushed it too. My family and I had a wonderful time despite my 10 month old getting pelted in the head by a krewe member who overshot her aim and he was parked in a stroller far enough away to have not come in contact with anything but he was fine and we wrote it off as his first mardi gras injury. My 3 year old tripped on the cement and hit his face hard. EMS was right there and took great care of him before he ended up seeing a doctor for the gash in his face. We were in an area where we (me white, and husband hispanic) were in a color minority and we couldn’t have picked a better spot of wonderful, good natured people having a great time. I didn’t hear a single comment out of the black community that anything seen was an issue, including the Bill Cosby meme which was vulgar, suggestive, and so wrong it was hilarious. Confederate flag? Really? That krewe that flew it had every right to fly it for whatever reason they wanted. We stood behind the front line crowd and everyone was great about sharing and just having a good time. Every political candidate was poked fun at and I didn’t even notice the larger than life hanging vagina until someone posted a picture later but ALL of those suggestive things were completely over the heads of all four of my children. Everything is suggestive in this parade and it’s raunchiness is in fun and a great deal of it is over the top simply for the shock value. The floats were fantastic and great fun was had by all ,, except the haters that need a podium and complaint. My husband and I also attended the ball which was probably one of the best times my husband I ever had together. It was also over the top and a fantastic time. Spanish Town knows how to do it right and just like anyone else, can’t please everyone. It was probably the most successful event we’ve attended where honestly in that crowd, our color just didn’t matter or sexual orientation or anything else other than people being awesome. I’m sorry you found something to offend you. You maybe should have used your off days to attend the removal of the Robert E. Lee Statue in NOLA than evidently wasting your time in Baton Rouge for this event.

        Like

      3. Ok so I never comment on things because I believe that everyone has the right to do whatever they want. White people get mad because they can’t have a white history month or or white entertainment television. That is ridiculous, there should be no white or black entertainment television because I’m sure all races like to watch BET. If we as a whole, as people not as a race would quit getting offended by everything things would be more progressive. I believe everyone should be equal, I know how much time and money goes into these floats. Some of the floats are meant to be distasteful, but it is just a parade. There are certain parades I don’t attend because I don’t like thier background. You can inform yourself about each krewe by using Google and find out the meanings and reasons behind thier krewe. I personally don’t agree with rebel flags, but they have as much a right to fly it as I do to dislike it. I’m very open minded, and I understand that the flag is part of thier history, and no one wants their history deleted because a group of people find its too hard to deal with. So I believe that if they want to wave their flags let them, it is thier right. Just like it was the lady who wrote this right to free speech and a right to be angry.

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    2. I really hope, because I know that the folks involved have good intentions, that you will hear this critique and take it to heart. It’s. It just one blogger posting it–it’s being passed around on Facebook to much agreement and assent. At some point you just have to open your heart and listen: These floats didn’t cause “offense,” they caused PAIN. People are dying, for God’s sake. It’s not “tasteless” or “pushing the envelope” to mock that–it’s callous disregard of human life. That is where the line between irreverent and out of bounds should be drawn.

      Like

  14. me and tHe tbousands of other black people who were able to go out there and enjoy themselves without looking for a reason to be offended appreciate your unneeded concern. My kids, both black, received more beads than we could haul back to our apartment today, lots of which came from the float with the rebel flag and the float with the “I can’t breathe” banner. They smiled, waved and three to us like hundreds of other people in floats, black, white, red or yellow. Find anothe cause to get behind. If you don’t like it, don’t go. More room for me and my family who appreciate those people who spend their own mo way to have things to throw to you all who are whining like babies. Start your own parade, who cares, no one is stopping you fools!

    Like

    1. Just as you stated YOUR opinion, this lady did the same…stated HER opinion. How she receive the parade is how she received it. What she experienced, you didn’t. Thank God you didn’t. I’m MORE than certain SEVERAL black folks had a fabulous time. She didn’t! How she feels is how she feels. How does that make her foolish? Why do you have to be so silly & attempt to ridicule her on her OWN experience? Why not you write a blog or post about the wonderful time you & your family experienced? I’m certain the Spanish Town Committee would love to have a black man & his familys woderful experience shared with others. To call her post or blog unneeded is just the same as calling your unneeded. Why can not we respect each others opinion? It is OK that we agree to disagree without being condescending! This is her cause!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I don’t give a dam about those Hillbillies and their substandard parades. My grand kids do not need their beads or their candy! Personally I don’t want their hands on anything that’s being thrown from those floats. I can buy whatever they need. Whites are more racist then ever because they do it more openly now, but I don’t care about that either! You do you and I’ll do me…….don’t need you at all!

    Like

  16. I have lived in Spanish Town for 21 years and am becoming sick of this parade for some of the reasons that the writer enumerates. There is making fun of everyone and then there is just plain tasteless hate speech, and some of the floats crossed the line this year. Get your act together SPLL and kick out floats that spout blatantly racist and sexist and homophobic themes. This parade has mushroomed into a huge imposition on the neighborhood, and every year, property owners sustain damage to common areas that cannot be cleaned up, as well as have to guard their homes against drunken revelers who do everything from defecate on the grass to have sex on the sidewalk to steal people’s personal property (witnessed all 3 yesterday). It’s time for the city to move it out of the middle of our tiny neighborhood and for SPLL to gain some control of those floats or shut it down.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Well, this is definitely sad. I’m from LA living in DC, and I haven’t been home for Mardi Gras in a decade. I look forward to seeing friends’ pictures on Facebook and elsewhere each year. I’m so sorry that this tradition has ended for you because of the actions of fools.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. UGHHHHHHH……… Really ,,,,,,, What The Heck ,,,,, Thanks goes out to all the Folks involved In the Spanish Town Org, It was a Great Parade and everyone I know had a wonderful time and enjoyed the day . You will never be able to PLEASE EVERYONE , and for the people that live in Spanish Town , longtime residents or new residents I believe that you know about Parade day and that should factor into your choice of where you choose to live … Again not everyone will be happy all the time . The Greater Good Was Served and A Good Time Was Had By All ,,, only if you went to the Parade with a clean mind , heart , and soul …. Oh and by the way If anyone chooses not to go because of whatever reason that’s your deal , DO NOT MAKE IT SEEM LIKE IT WAS SOMEONE’S ELSE’S IDEA FOR YOU TO STAY AWAY ,,,, OWN YOUR OWN DAMN CHOICE AND LET YOUR FREAK FLAG FLY ,,, JUST SAYING ,,,,,, HAPPY MARDI GRAS EVERYONE ,,,

    Like

  19. There is nothing politically correct about this parade, that is also the point of this parade. Last year was pushing envelope and this year pushed it too. My family and I had a wonderful time despite my 10 month old getting pelted in the head by a krewe member who overshot her aim and he was parked in a stroller far enough away to have not come in contact with anything but he was fine and we wrote it off as his first mardi gras injury. My 3 year old tripped on the cement and hit his face hard. EMS was right there and took great care of him before he ended up seeing a doctor for the gash in his face. We were in an area where we (me white, and husband hispanic) were in a color minority and we couldn’t have picked a better spot of wonderful, good natured people having a great time. I didn’t hear a single comment out of the black community that anything seen was an issue, including the Bill Cosby meme which was vulgar, suggestive, and so wrong it was hilarious. Confederate flag? Really? That Krewe that flew it had every right to fly it for whatever reason they wanted. We stood behind the front line crowd and everyone was great about sharing and just having a good time. Every political candidate was poked fun at and I didn’t even notice the larger than life hanging vagina until someone posted a picture later but ALL of those suggestive things were completely over the heads of all four of my children. Everything is suggestive in this parade and it’s raunchiness is in fun and a great deal of it is over the top simply for the shock value. The floats were fantastic and great fun was had by all ,, except the haters that need a podium and complaint. My husband and I also attended the ball which was probably one of the best times my husband I ever had together. It was also over the top and a fantastic time. Spanish Town knows how to do it right and just like anyone else, can’t please everyone. It was probably the most successful event we’ve attended where honestly in that crowd, our color just didn’t matter or sexual orientation or anything else other than people being awesome. I’m sorry you found something to offend you. You maybe should have used your off days to attend the removal of the Robert E. Lee Statue in NOLA than evidently wasting your time in Baton Rouge for this event.

    Like

  20. I didn’t go to spanish town this year, but I am white. My kids are white, and I attended the artimis and mystic parade this year with my white friend and her “white” baby. Only artimis threw out decent throws. Almost everyone on the mystic parade ignored us. I do agree that the flamingos with victim names is in poor taste and someone a police or some body should of stopped it from happening. It is sicking.

    Like

  21. Yesssss!!! I’m SOOOOOOO GLAD ITS OUT THERE!!! I was run out of Spanish Town the second the residents found out that I was Choctaw! An old white high society man approached me on the street and said to me “Your people were good for nothing but their blood fertilizing our soil!” Anytime I had my black friends over the cops were called for NO REASON! The cops there harassed me! I was illegally stripped of my rights and threatened with false arrest! 4 white people pulled my flamingo off of my house at 3:30 pm and NO ONE SAW ANYTHING! I had it all on videotape! The police refused to look at the video as well as my landlord! After 2 years of constant harassment I finally moved to TigerLand and life is now peaceful!

    Like

  22. I was there too. My first time going. Glad it wasn’t just me. Someone said we need to relax, it’s just a parade. Ok, fine. But when the people on the floats blatantly ignore people of color and just throw and hand out beads and things to only the white people, there’s no way to make excuses for it. After what I saw yesterday, the Spanish Town parade is just a way to be completely open with their racists attitudes, and get away with it. Maybe there needs to be a float that depicts them in derogatory and disgusting manner and lets see how many cry foul?

    Like

  23. I felt the same after attending the Zulu parade in NO. No, it shouldn’t happen but it does. I just don’t go anymore. Anyone who brings kids who can read to the Spanish Town parade should think twice. This is not a child’s parade, no matter what color you may be. My advice to you is to keep treating others the way you wish to be treated. Be a good example for your kids.

    Like

  24. Fuck it white,black, green, blue. Whatever color we should all be treated equal at the end of the day when you’re cut we all bleed red dont fucking be stupid racism and slavery was back in the days its 2016 racism shouldnt be a focus I was told to play with who I wanted to black white whatever u never know when u would need someone help r even to save ur life think about what u doing before u want to start the recism shit this generations dont play this bullshit💯💯✊✊

    Like

    1. Haha,, yes indeed. Were we standing next to each other at the parade? Because I was in the middle of a black crowd and those ladies were having an awesomely good time and were awesome to be around and nobody cared one way or another that I am white. It was a good time.

      Like

  25. Do you want the truth? Can you handle the truth? White people are fed up with black peoples racism. We’ve been working our tails off for years to pay for all of your government hand-outs. We’ve put up with you constantly being offended about everything and complaining. When you don’t get your way you riot. For most of us, taking down the statues in New Orleans was the last straw. We’ve had enough!! I work 40 hours a week. I’m on a budget. When blue bell ice cream came back my daughter wanted some really bad. We went grocery shopping, got our necessities. When we got to the ice cream section and I saw the price of blue bell I nearly choked!! It hurt my heart to tell her we couldn’t afford it. I told her she could choose something less expensive. When we got to the check out we happened to be behind a black family. They proceeded to put blue bell of every flavor up to be scanned. My little girl noticed and asked mommy how can they afford all of it. Without skipping a best…the ebt card was pulled out. Do you really not see how this is unfair? I can’t buy my child 1 container of ice cream but my tax $ buys your kids every flavor!!! By the way.. I’ve tried to get food stamps to help. I was declined because I have a vehicle and a job. I tried again, I was blatantly told I was the wrong color!!! Don’t you think that’s racist?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I pay taxes just like your ass so an for your information more of your people are on wlefare than us we can’t get welfare like your race so cut the bullshit out when we start to telling you about your racist ass you want to put it on the black race cut it out it’s 2016 not 1916 really y’all gets on my nerves with it

      Like

    2. Wow I’m white and that was very racist! Also if you know statistics you should know that more white people are on food assistance and housing assistance than black people so your point is invalid and makes you look like an idiot. Equality for everyone!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ok- so more whites are on food stamps than blacks. This is always the go to retaliation “statistic” for blacks when Food stamps and benefits are brought up. But the reality is, it’s a useless statistic. You know why? Because it doesn’t account for the percentage of the population each group makes up. Whites make up 63%, while blacks make up 12%. So of course there’s more whites on food stamps. So, the reality is that 12% of the population is receiving 25% of food stamp money. And that’s just food stamps. The statistics for section 8, Medicaid, unemployment, and crime are worse. So perhaps YOU should check YOUR facts instead. The brutal truth is, government benefits, courtesy of the hardworking taxpayers, have become a way of life for the black population. Ever heard the saying “Don’t shit where you eat?!?!” Think about that the next time you’re looking for something to be offended by or cry “racism” about.

        Like

  26. It’s hurtful and cruel to make fun of the dead, whether it’s part a parade or not, particularly after it has been such an important part of our national conversation. I’m white and nearly cried reading how hurtful it was. It hurt me as a human being. I am so sorry you had that experience Shelley, and to anyone else who had a similar one. I know I would have felt the same. It’s just wrong.

    She is not speaking about welfare, systemic racism, or hating on the parade. Those of you defending this are really embarrassing to me and many of my peers who do our best to make our society more caring and inclusive.

    Keep up the writing Shelley.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pink lives matter was making fun of the dead? No, it was making fun of a slogan that implies that anyone’s lives matter over another. This parade makes fun of everything but making fun of dead people was not the intention but of course those who want to cry foul will take it out of context, those that want to cry about things always being unfair.

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  27. My entire life, this is how I’ve always thought about this particular region:
    There’s New Orleans
    There’s Lafayette
    and then there’s Baton Rouge…a city stuck in the middle, stuck in its ways…just stuck.
    damn shame.

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  28. Thank you for this essay. I did not go this year to Spanish Town. Now I’m glad I didn’t. It would have been heartbreaking. How some folks call Trump’s hate speech ‘just entertaining’ is in line with the stunning lack of context and perspective many white folks have on BlackLivesMatter. Yet another entry point into a far deeper dive into deep cultural and institutional racism and hate. The work is large here in Baton Rouge. Well, in most of our country. Again, thank you for sharing this blog. I am sharing it now on social media so maybe some progress may be made from this year’s parade. (Funny how a parade that started with a few drag queens could devolve into a parade that defames the struggle for civil rights. — and to the comment about the parade is free speech and ‘it’s just funny’ etc, I would only say, you are right. Hate speech is protected, yes. But never- ever- acceptable or condoned.

    Like

      1. Making fun of Trump (or Jindal, or Obama, or any politician) is satire. Why? Because satire “punches up.” The whole point of it is to debase the powerful. Making fun of ordinary people who were killed by police (Freddie Gray, Eric Garner), or of a struggle for basic human and civil rights, simply doesn’t fit the definition of satire. That’s why we saw satire of LBJ and Bull Connor, but not of Emmet Till or freedom riders. We satirize the NRA and politicians on BOTH sides of the gun control debate, but not Gabby Giffords or the victims of Sandy Hook. It’s not political correctness, it’s just the way satire works. Its purpose is not to make fun of everything and everyone; it’s to expose corruption, to invite contempt for vice, dishonesty, or hubris–and in so doing, to improve humanity.

        Please, SPLL and defenders of this parade, look beyond dictionary.com for the meaning of a complex term that is central to your purpose and argument.

        Liked by 2 people

  29. This is what the leader of this country wants. Get black people riled up at white people and start racial tension that shouldn’t be. This country’s race relations are going freakin backwards and it’s because of the leadership , starting with the president on down. The sad part is most of you don’t see it. Open your eyes people, your government wants your vote and that’s it . They don’t give a shit about you. ALL LIVES MATTER, not just black or white. Yours and mine.

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  30. The reason they made fun of the BLACK LIVES MATTERS movement, is because it is total bullshit. Same with the removal of the Confederate flag. The stupidity of the black community when it comes to these race issues is laughable, and ripe for the satire.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I completely agree that it was inappropriate and offensive. It’s cruel to make fun of victims like the parade did this year.

    But, as a white person, I want to point out that this parade wasn’t “whites only.” It was “racist whites only.” I am appalled by the topic and, despite being white, do not feel like this parade was welcoming to me. I was horrified for my friends from other backgrounds and races.

    Thank you for posting this. It needed to be said (even if I was picky about one small point). I’m sorry that so many people are trolling with such racist and unkind comments. What you said here needed to be said and is important.

    Like

  32. It’s simple… the Only deaths that were mocked with satire were black ones. That is the problem. That is the smoking gun of the racist accusations. If you can’t name another float that used satire to mock the unfortunate death of a white person, then you can’t tell us we are being to sensitive. I don’t think saying “pink lives matter” is overly offensive, but when you pair that with specifically mocking the deceased almost by name ( in the case of freddy gray ) That’s just heartless.

    Like

  33. Black Lives Matter…The name of this group is, in and of itself, is racist. The original buzz phrase of BLM, “Hands up, Don’t Shoot” did not happen according to the Grand Jury in Ferguson, MO and the Justice Dept. Their original call to protest was based on a lie by a criminal thug. Subsequent chants at other BLM demonstrations “What do we want? Dead Cops. When do we want them? Now!” Also, “Pigs in a blanket…Fry em’ like bacon.” Should chants like these not be lampooned? The BLM movement is not about free speech, it is about shutting down any speech that they disagree with, and then slamming down the “Race Card.” BLM, a Piss Poor organization!

    Like

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