Parade History

Parade History for the Wearin' of the Green, St. Patrick's Day Parade

The first Wearin’ of the Green, St Patrick's Day Parade rolled on March 15, 1986. Parade History in the making. Antique cars, convertibles, twirlers, scouts, close friends and family made their way down to Zee Zee Gardens pub from City Park Golf Course. Blessed with a sunny day, Pat Shingleton began his day with an Irish breakfast and started his annual tradition of walking with family at the end of the parade.

It was a year earlier when he and his wife, Mabyn, were visiting his hometown when they finalized their purchase of ZeeZee Gardens Pub with two friends* and brother, Kevin. As Shingleton watched the St. Patrick’s Day Parade line-up on the Boulevard of the Allies in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, his parade vision began to crystallize. ZeeZee's would become synonymous with the parade being the primary place for meetings. In the years that followed, Krewe Captain Safety meetings were held at the Our Lady of Mercy Parish Activity Center and the East Baton Rouge School Board Office. In 2015, Safety Information for the Krewes went online. You'll find this parade rich with green and white and customized Mardi Gras type beads.

    Pat Shingleton Saint Patricks Day Parade Louisiana

Parade History By Year

1982  Pat Shingleton (former Weathercaster at WBRZ TV) was asked to cover the downtown St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Once there, he asked if the parade was starting to line up but was told by then Mayor Pat Screen's assistant, Rochelle McCann, that what he was seeing ‘was the parade.’ (It was very small.)

1986 First year for Wearin’ of the Green Walking Parade – Parade route City Park Golf Course to Zee Zee Gardens. **

1991 New Parade Route starts Hundred Oaks at South Acadian Thruway

1994 Final year of annual street-party at the foot of the Overpass on Perkins Road.

1995 Friends of the Parade, orchestrated by Donna and Rene Esnard, rallied to keep parade in Hundred Oaks neighborhood.  Obtained over 600 signatures.

1998 Due to a Mardi Gras parade tragedy, police publicized that their DWI van would be on hand for our parade to ‘help prevent’ drivers from driving while intoxicated.

1999 The Parade Group, LLC was formed to manage the year-round activities of the parade.

2009 The Oscar Meyer Wienermobile rolled in our route for the first time; Special provisions were made due to crumbling concrete supports on the Overpass Bridge

2016 Mockler Beverage brings the world famous Clydesdales to lead the parade! Drizzling wet weather kept major crowds away but it was a great day for thousands.

2017 Honored the Sacrificies of the men and women who protect us daily, our law enforcement. The Oscar Meyer Wienermobile and Planter's NUTMobile were fun additions for this year's parade.

2018 Our online store opened. The public can now order limited edition parade prints, cups and tee shirts. We were pleased to welcome back The Oscar Meyer Wienermobile and Planter's NUTMobile.

2019 This year ushered several new things. The inaugural 5K Shamrock Run on the historic parade route was so much fun! This was also the first year we published the Wearin' of the Green Official Parade Publication. The Oscar Meyer Wienermobile rolled again with us and we were highly entertained by the the Southern University Band, the Human Jukebox. It was the first year of the Parade Flags. We mailed one flag to each of our oldest Krewes.

2020/2021 Our 35th Grand Marshal, Todd Graves, was announced on Halfway Day October 2019. The Saturday prior to the planned parade, the first Emerald Party was held at a downtown venue featuring Snoop Dogg. Two days prior to the 2020 parade, we were compelled to postpone it due to the pandemic. Parade History will show that 2020 and 2021 flew by without a parade due to the covid pandemic. 

2022 Grand Marshal Todd Graves ruled over a truly epic year for our parade history. The crowds and enthusiasm were invigorating. Riding with Todd were wife, Gwen, and popular American rapper Nelly. Mockler Beverage Budweiser brought back the Budweiser Clydesdales to the delight of the crowds. This was a very musical year as you'll read about on Todd Graves page. We were excited to have the Southern University Band, the Human Jukebox, play again in conjunction with the Raising Canes entourage. The Ocean of Soul, the Texas Southern University Band, was brought to the Baton Rouge by Bernhard Capital. This was the first year that Cooking in Central brought its volunteer cooking to our events. The Big Idaho Potato Truck was our invited guest but due to size limitations, it was decided not to have it try make the parade route. Our 3rd Shamrock Run went off without a hitch thanks to our sponsors. Please visit the Shamrock Run on this site.

2023 No one would have ever expected sleet and a little hail but that is what occurred early March 18 prior to the parade festivities beginning.  We were happy to have Planters Nutmobile and Mr. Peanut, whose outfit had definitely been upgraded, join us for the parade. The Clydesdales, once again, led the parade in grand style followed closely by Grand Marshal Tim Mockler with his Budweiser branded float.

Planters Nutmobile Baton Rouge, Louisiana 2023 

Previous St. Patrick’s Day Parade History

The Sons of Erin, organized in 1906, was an Irish group for males of Irish descent. Their tradition was to start the day out with mass at St. Agnes Catholic Church and then, fly the flag of Ireland over the City while members paraded down Third Street. In the evening they would enjoy a dinner at the Heidelberg Hotel while listening to the "finest entertainment"... a grand tenor with a lilt to his voice.  This small walking parade was full of names like Bogan, Keogh, Brennan, Murphy, Burden, Tullis, McInnis, McCurnin, McAndrew, and Hynes.

In 1951, the wives of the members expressed their displeasure at this annual St. Patrick’s Day stag party. As a result of their exclusion, the Irish Club of Baton Rouge was formed in 1951. Across town at Mike and Tony's Restaurant (Scenic Hwy), the Marching Irish crowned their afternoon parade with a feast. Records end in 1967. These were the days when the Irish Club of Baton Rouge was a thriving organization which would ship in fresh shamrocks every year for the celebration. A green stripe was painted down the center of the downtown street. Parade records dwindled as did participation in the Club and the Parade.

Parade History shows pipers marching down the parade routeBuggy rides in paradeParade History: Governor John McKeithen holds shillelaghBagpipers

*Andy Ezell, Martin Schott
** Special thanks to Chuck Perrodin, Joe Keogh, Pat Screen (former Mayor) and Martin Flanagan (Design talent extraordinairre who created our distinctive logo with the drunk marching men)