Party in the streets: Thousands come for Mardi Gras parade

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, February 9, 2016

MCCA captain Don Spiers said he was happy with the MCCA XXXVI parade Saturday and all the events surrounding the annual Bogalusa Mardi Gras tradition.

This year the entire parade took just over three hours to wrap up, and it began at 1:05 p.m. Saturday and finished at 4:10 p.m.

Queen Linda Slade waves to the viewers from her float.

Queen Linda Slade waves to the viewers from her float.

In a letter Spiers sent out to all krewe captains this week, Spiers had no complaints about anything.

“The Announcements and Royalty Revealing event was super-fun,” Spiers said. “The king and queen were instant hits with the krewe and the community, and proved to be a wonderful and devoted pair throughout the season. The members of our Royal Court were extra-fine young people, and as enthusiastic as we could have ever hoped for. The dukes were a marvelous team. They were tireless performers in the maze of parties and social gatherings, dazzling at the Coronation Ball, then proudly paraded in our duke’s float.”

Spiers went on to praise the Coronation Ball as elegant.

“The king and queen and the entire court were regal and in glorious new costumes,” he said. “The costuming for our king and queen, attendants and pages rival any seen in Rex.”

The weather Saturday — blue skies dotted with white clouds and mild temperatures — was also a point of praise by Spiers.

“However perfect a parade day’s weather can be this, one more time, was it,” he said.

Spiers reported the crowd was robust, and topped out at between 50,000 to 70,000 people.

“Even at the low end of that estimate, the number of people here on parade day amazingly equals four times our city’s population,” Spiers said. “They appeared generally well-behaved and joyful. I saw many in the crowd sharing throws with folks beside them, or passing them to someone for whom they were intended.

“One motorcycle rider approached the Captain’s float, grinning ear to ear, saying he loved being here, and said ‘I’m from Detroit, we don’t have anything like this there!’ Along the route, I saw three more (people) holding homemade signs proclaiming they were here from Michigan. I kind of doubted one that said, ‘I’m from MICHIGON.’”

The theme of the parade was “And the winner is….” and Spiers praised the parade’s marshal, Katherine Haik, herself a winner of Miss Teen USA, as well suited to be the marshal.

Spiers said the crowds were well-behaved as were float riders.

“I was proud to see that the great majority of our riders were costumed, courteous, and having a splendid day,” he said. “This is a matter of great importance when presenting a column of 40 floats carrying 500 revelers.”

Though everyone was well-behaved, Spiers thanked local law enforcement for being on hand.

“Our Parade Trail Boss Bill McGeehee, his small staff, and the Bogalusa Police Department with the sheriff’s office, and the members they recruit from St. Tammany offices are deserving of high commendation for the job they do for us,” he said.

Finally, Spiers said he appreciated all the help from everyone who went into making the season successful.

“My sincere thanks to all of you who work hard in keeping our ‘Carnival in the Forest’ alive and well,” he said. “It is worth it. The Krewe of MCCA season is far more than simply a celebration for us. It is a big part of ‘who we are’ in Washington Parish.”