Bad weather dampens but does not extinguish the spirit of International Acadian Festival


Evangeline and her band of princesses weren't able to make their symbolic arrival on the banks of Bayou Plaquemine this past weekend for the 49th annual International Acadian Festival, but the event was enjoyed by many anyway.

Storms blew through the Plaquemine area beginning early Saturday afternoon, causing the postponement of the arrival of Evangeline set for that evening, but the ceremony will be rescheduled.

The parade set for Sunday morning was canceled early and will not be rescheduled. Evangeline, portrayed this year by Zoe Bertrand, and her lovely princesses will ride in the city's Mardi Gras parade held on the Sunday evening before Mardi Gras.

"We had two of the worst possible weather days of the whole month of October and at the worst time for the Acadian Festival," said Plaquemine Mayor Ed Reeves, who understood the disappointment the honorary Evangeline and her court had to feel.

"The parade also had to be canceled," said Joey Daigle, a member of the Knights of Columbus Plaquemine Council No. 970, the event's organizers. "We had a pretty bad windstorm come through here that blew down some trees so it's a good thing they canceled it."

"The public may criticize us but we made the right decision," Reeves said. 

Daigle said Friday was likely the best day for the festival in terms of attendance, probably because people knew the weather forecast.

The bad weather did not cause the cancellation of the event's headlining entertainer, Chase Tyler, one of south Louisiana's favorites and a huge audience wherever he plays.

"Tyler Chase is a great entertainer who usually draws a big crowd, but the weather killed his show," Reeves said, approximating the crowd at just 40.

Daigle said Sunday was another good day for the festival, once the weather cleared.

"We never did get any rain Sunday so people just kept trickling in," he said.