Following a long-standing tradition to inform those who missed the Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade (or were there and couldn’t figure out what they were seeing), this column is devoted to the results of judging entrants in the parade.

Judges, all former parade royalty, were D’Aaron LeBlanc, Whitney Vann, Laken Boudreaux, Gerald Woods and Chief Justice Tom Sylvest, who pens this guest column about the parade:

Nice try

With a very early Mardi Gras, krewes obviously hustled to do their best and worst. Many succeeded in falling short of impressing anyone. Finding any krewe that deserved mention was nearly impossible. However, the discriminating eyes of the judge’s scanned the depths of disappointment and bestowed the awards listed below.

SPLL Awards

(The Society for the Preservation of Lagniappe in Louisiana is the group to blame for putting on the parade.)

Worst Float: Krewe la Moula. Perhaps intentionally, but most likely not, these folks adorned their conveyance with artwork reminiscent of Georgia O’Keeffe’s flower paintings or Larry Flynt’s exhibits for his landmark Supreme Court case. To be more explicit would be stretching the limits of good taste.

Best Float (The Hoover Award): Krewe of Helios. When you distribute the judges’ names liberally on every surface and spell their names correctly, it means only one thing. You have no shame whatsoever. You are a complete “Suck Up.”

“Seriously? You should roll on Sunday” Award: Krewe of Red Necked. No one could explain why this float was in line and in first position on top of that. Wee Mary (Grand Marshal Mary Alice Gray) apparently needed a ride and commandeered the vehicle from some confused people wearing rainbows and rebel caps.

Best Marching Group: Babycakes. These gals always put on an energetic, synchronized performance that will get the blood up of any fellow above the grave and wake a few from their final resting places. To shimmy and shake with such precision and coordination staggers the imagination.

Epic Theme Failure: Krewe of Sheet. Traditionally, the local newspaper has fulfilled the function of announcing betrothals, engagements and impending nuptials. The STMG Parade was abused this year by this krewe to announce a wedding. Had you prominently displayed the date of the ceremony, the reception hall’s address and invited all paradegoers, this lapse in judgment could have been overlooked.

Judge’s Select Awards

Pat Benatar (Hit Me With Your Best Shot) Award: Pink Ladies. The judges showed poor judgment by lingering at this float too long and swallowing anything these women put in Jell-O shots. “If you can’t take it with you, you just as soon drink it here” were the encouraging words often heard.

“Beat The Other Judges Down” Award: C’est La Vie. These old friends of Judge Tom Sylvest decorated their float with his picture and made stickers supporting him for president. Tom threatened his judicial colleagues with serious bodily harm if this group didn’t get an award. Justice Vann readily agreed, since her name was on the float too.

“Air Show” Award: Damifineaux. T-shirts took to the skies and fell like “WKRP” turkeys (old sitcom reference; younger readers can Google it) into the crowds as this float trundled down the road armed with “potato” cannons. These elaborate contraptions launched cheap apparel to those looking to expand their wardrobes.

Best Bribe: Krewe of Cookie. By sheer volume of “stuff,” KOC deserves this recognition. Beads, hats, balls, plushie toys, cups and all manner of other worthless junk almost sated the judges’ avaricious appetite for tribute. Other krewes weren’t underappreciated; these cookies just over-performed.

Best Threat: Italian American Marchers. A horse’s head? These guys don’t mess around. The paisans appear to have no issue with perpetuating a stereotype that generations have tried to dispel. Please note: This is NOT a criticism, guys.

Most Satisfying: Mixed Nuts. Every judge in their own way was delighted with these “toys.” (Note: This paragraph has been edited for content.)

Best Showmanship Award or “You’ve got an award, now go away:” Krewe of Bierbog. If you didn’t see their float, you missed something. What you missed, no one knows. They put a lot of work into their float and if you don’t tell them you appreciate it, you have 12 months of hearing them complain.

Best Spud Award: I-Da-Ho Potato Queens. That guy in the TV commercial with his dog driving around the countryside isn’t looking for that huge Idaho Potato. He’s looking for these wenches. They may not tell him where they hid his potato, but they will offer a lap dance or a pole dance from Queen Frankie Moore.

King of the Road Recognition: Krewe of MOM. Her Majesty King Chris Frink was all the decoration the “Queen of the Kings” float required. People will talk for ages about him/her.

Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.

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