Spanish Town is a little more blue than pink today after the death of Charles "Fish" Fisher, a neighborhood fixture and a founder of the annual Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade.
A Facebook post Tuesday by the Mystic Krewe for the Preservation of Lagniappe in Louisiana, which puts on the annual parade and fundraising ball, said Fisher died of cancer. Fisher remained active with the group and was considered "the face of the parade for many years," the post said.
He was 68.
Fisher embodied the parade's quirky nature with his signature white tuxedo and sometimes pink mustache. The parade, and the Spanish Town neighborhood at its core, embraces the color pink and its pink flamingo mascot.
"Fish was one of the more colorful residents of Baton Rouge's most colorful and diverse neighborhood, Spanish Town," said Advocate columnist Smiley Anders, who also calls Spanish Town home.
"He loved the historic old neighborhood, and chronicled its history and special events. ...Fish came on like an old hippie, with his long hair and jeans, but he was a solid citizen, and retired not long ago from his state job working with computers," Anders said. "He was an original, and there'll be no replacing him."
"He was a unique individual," echoed Doug Cossman, a longtime krewe board member. "He adopted and adapted to Louisiana culture and made it his own. He'll go down in history as one of the fathers of Spanish Town Mardi Gras."
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In a 1997 story about the history of the parade, Fisher said the founders never had grandiose plans for the event.
"We had no idea what it was going to grow into," he said. "Nobody had in mind the magnitude of this. It was just a little block party."
In recent years, the parade has drawn tens of thousands of people to the Capital City.
"One of my favorite memories of Fish was when we spent two hours at the Thirsty Tiger with him giving me the complete history of Spanish Town Mardi Gras," said friend Laura McDavitt. "I'd ask him, 'Why don't we know this, Fish? You should be writing all this down.' He was iconic to Baton Rouge and I'm going to miss him."