New Bay parade to kick off 200-year anniversary of Battle of Bay St. Louis
By Dwayne Bremer
Dec 17, 2013, 18:37
A new Mardi Gras parade in Bay St. Louis will help kick off a year-round celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bay St. Louis.
The Mystic Krewe of Seahorse announced Saturday that its first annual parade will be held in downtown Bay St. Louis on Lundi Gras evening, March 3, 2014.
The krewe of Seahorse is the brainchild of brothers Donald and Rory Rafferty.
The Krewe is named after the U.S.S. Seahorse, a War of 1812 schooner, which valiantly fought a British Fleet on Dec. 14, 1814 during the Battle of Bay St. Louis, a precursor of the Battle of Lake Bourne and the Battle of New Orleans.
Rory Rafferty, a former Pass Christian alderman and history major, said the inspiration behind the 200 year celebration was the unique history of our area during the War of 1812.
"There was a garrison stationed in Pass Christian during the war of 1812," Rafferty said. "This was one of the last naval engagements of that war. So many people don't know the history of the battle."
During the battle of Bay St. Louis, the Sea Horse and another schooner, the Alligator, sailed into the Bay of St. Louis to harass a fleet of British First Rate Ships of the Line.
The Americans ultimately were defeated by the stronger British ships, but the engagements helped delay the Red Coats' arrival in New Orleans and bought Gen. Andrew Jackson valuable time to fortify his position in Chalmette, which would ultimately be the site of America's greatest victory of the war.
Donald Rafferty said the Krewe of Seahorse chose Dec. 14, 2013 to announce the date of the parade and anniversary celebration.
"What better date than the 199th anniversary?" he said. "Since Mardi Gras is our specialty, we felt it would only be proper to have a parade to celebrate this anniversary."
The golf-cart and vehicle parade is scheduled for 6 p.m. on March 3. It will begin at Second Street and Ulman Avenue and wind its way through downtown Bay St. Louis, ending at Union Street near St. Stanislaus.
Donald Rafferty said he hopes the parade will catch on and become a yearly tradition.
"There is nothing else happening on the Coast on Lundi Gras," he said. "This can be something special for Bay St. Louis."
Donald has already approached the Bay St. Louis city council about the parade and the council seemed to be "very supportive," he said.
Logistics such as traffic control are still pending, he said.
The Krewe of Seahorse has named Carter Church as King Oceanus and Bay Councilwoman Wendy McDonald as queen for 2014.
In addition to the parade, the Krewe of Seahorse plans to host a charity golf tournament, several community events, culminating in a reenactment of the battle of Bay St. Louis on Dec. 14, 2014.
For more information about the Krewe and information about joining call Robin "Rory" Rafferty at 228-547-4873.