Hometown: City celebrates Fourth of July at Bayou Plaquemine Waterfront Park with fireworks, boat parade

PETER SILAS PASQUA ppasqua@postsouth.com
People enjoy the music at the 13th Annual July 4th Hometown Celebration on Thursday afternoon. 
POST SOUTH PHOTO/Peter Silas Pasqua

PLAQUEMINE – The City of Plaquemine held the 13th Annual July 4th Hometown Celebration on the Fourth of July, Thursday at the Bayou Plaquemine Waterfront Park.

The event included a boat parade honoring veterans on Independence Day, “putt-putt” boat rides, dancing on the boardwalk and fireworks over the bayou.

“We started it,” Plaquemine Mayor Mark A. “Tony” Gulotta said. “The city of Plaquemine does it. It is something we wanted to do. They line up down the bayou and levees. It is a real nice event.

“We do this for the Veterans. They are the Grand Marshalls and we bring them up the bayou in a boat. Every year is different. We have had them all the way from World War II to the War in Afghanistan.”

Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.

“We draw about 8,000 by the time the fireworks start,” Gulotta said. “We draw them from all over. It is a small home-town event. We started downtown but once the park was built we moved it over here.”

The Plaquemine Lock State Historic Site and Iberville Museum were open during the day and included wood carving demonstrations by north Iberville artist Gene Seneca.

“This is really nice,” Iberville Parish Councilman Terry J. Bradford said. “Every year “Tony” and the City do a great job. Look at the crowd out here. It is a lot of fun. I come here every year and I enjoy it. It just means a great deal to the city of Plaquemine.

“Some of them come in the boats. This is a great time. There are dance contests. Beat the heat and it is fun. I enjoy it. It is a huge crowd. This draws the biggest crowd every year in the city of Plaquemine.”

The first celebration 13 years ago was held at the Plaquemine Depot and honored four Prisoners of War. The original Grand Marshalls were Country Ruiz, Joe Rockforte and the late Dominick Campesi and J.E. Dupont.

“Every year since then, veterans were honored as Grand Marshalls of the parade,” Iberville Parish Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution Flag and Veteran Chairman Brenda Babin said. “They are the main reason we are here and all need to be honored.”

Eight Grand Marshalls stood over the 2013 parade. They were presented flags by chapter past regent Verna Roberts.

Some are Billy Pace, Ralph Babin, Andy Mire and his son Drew Mire, Danny Sanchez, Harry Banner and others.

Lorraine Hidalgo coordinates the event for the city, which is sponsored by the City of Plaquemine Main Street program.

“I am having a nice time,” Erica Allen of Plaquemine said. “It is a beautiful day for the Fourth of July.”

Allen attends the celebration every year to sight see and eat.

“The fireworks are about to start,” she said.

Unfinished Business Band provided musical entertainment.