WCA to host 50th St. Pat's parade
By Dwayne Bremer
Mar 14, 2014, 19:22
The leprechaun always promises a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and on Saturday there will indeed be a treasure in the city of Waveland when the Waveland Civic Association celebrates is golden anniversary of the city's St. Patrick's Day parade.
The Waveland Civic Association began in 1963 when a group of local leaders, residents, and summer-home owners formed the group at a meeting at Villere's bar on Coleman Avenue.
The following year, the group began having a St. Patrick's Day parade, which centered around Coleman Avenue.
The original parade was short, beginning at the Waveland school (now the Waveland Civic Center) on Coleman Avenue and south to the beach, where it turned towards Terrace Avenue. Once on Terrace, the parade traveled to Bourgeois Street and ended at city hall on the corner of Bourgeois and Coleman.
Over the past 50 years, many local leaders have served as the parade's grand marshal. Joe Griffin was the first grand marshal in 1964. Other notable grand marshals from past years include, but are not limited to, Tommy Kidd, 1969; former Waveland Alderman Louis Smolensky; 1985, Justice Court Judge James "Jay" Lagasse III, 1986; former mayor John Mason; 1990, former county supervisor Jeep Ladner, 1999; and Jerry West in 2003.
Kidd, who served as president in 1968 and 1970 said Friday that the WCA was formed as a community-minded group and it quickly grew over the years.
"It was designed to help the community and the parade was the icing on the cake," Kidd said. "Two of the things WCA can be the proudest of are contributions to the community after hurricanes Camille and Katrina."
Over the years, the route has changed, but the WCA has never missed a parade, including after Camille in 1970 and Katrina in 2006.
"It was a mess, but we had a parade in 1970," Kidd said. "I think it helped the morale of the community. It was something uplifting."
"The St. Patrick's Day parade has been a mainstay in Waveland," Waveland Mayor and WCA Treasurer David Garcia said Friday. "The parade has rolled despite hurricanes, rain, and even snow."
From 2006 until 2011, the Waveland St. Patrick's Day parade used a Highway 90 route because of Katrina, but in 2012, it returned to it's traditional Central Avenue to Coleman Avenue route.
This year, the parade begins at 2 p.m. at Central Avenue and Waveland Avenue, travels west to Coleman Avenue, up Coleman Avenue to Beach Blvd., and east on Beach Blvd. to Waveland Avenue.
WCA Secretary Paul Pitts said Friday that the parade has 46 units this year.
Pitts said this year's parade ball was special because the WCA invited all of the living past-grand marshals and Collen's to attend, which many did.
In addition, he said, WCA is honoring the past with 5,000 special 50th anniversary doubloons which will be thrown during the parade
Garcia said he has been in the WCA for more than 20 years and he encourages residents to join the group.
"I have enjoyed every minute of it," Garcia said. "It has been a great experience for so many people."