The first Wearin’ of the Green Parade rolled on March 13, 1986. Antique cars, convertibles, twirlers, scouts, close friends and family made their way down Perkins Road from City Park Golf Course to Zee Zee Gardens. 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 synomous 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.
1982 Pat Shingleton (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.’
1986 First year for Wearin’ of the Green Walking Parade – Parade route City Park Golf Course to Zee Zee Gardens. **
1989 Grey Hammett joins Pat to organize the Parade.
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 by the Hammett and Shingletons to manage the year-round activities of the parade.
2009 The Oscar Meyer Weinermobile rolled in our route; 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.
Previous St. Patrick’s Day Parade
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.
*Andy Ezell, Martin Schott
** Special thanks to Chuck Perrodin, Joe Keogh, Pat Screen and Martin Flanagan
*** Grey Hammett’s idea and a great one at that!