Local Acadian Festival begins this weekend with Water Ceremony activities

Deidre Cruse
EVANGELINE 2010...This is the official portrait, taken by Paul Bouy, of the 2010 International Acadian Festival queen, EVANGELINE MADDIE BAHRY.

International Acadian Festival ceremonies begin Saturday evening (Oct. 9) in Plaquemine with the annual Arrival and Presentation of 2010 Evangeline Maddie Bahry.

Known as the “Water Ceremony”, a beautiful postcard perfect setting with the “Cathedral on the Bayou” in the background will introduce the 43rd Evangeline queen of the local Knights of Columbus Council 970 festival.

Bahry and her 14 elected Indian Princesses will reenact the historic arrival of Evangeline on the banks of Bayou Plaquemine, part of the legend created by Longfellow.

Weather permitting, Evangeline and the princesses will arrive by canoe at the Plaquemine Waterfront Park at 7 p.m. Seven canoes will arrive with the eighth carrying Evangeline.

Prior to the canoe ceremony, the Festival Mass of Thanksgiving will be celebrated by Father Cleo Milano at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, i.e. “The Cathedarl on the Bayou”, adjacent to the Waterfront Park and the Plaquemine Lock.

Mass will begin at 5 p.m. Father Milano will be assisted by Deacons Alfred Ricard and Todd Lloyd. The St. John Choir, under the direction of Medric Smith, will perform along with trumpets and drums. Evangeline and her Indian Princesses will be at the Mass.

Before and after the water ceremony, DJ Koolaid, Smith, Rev. Louis C. Askins, and Emily Palermo will provide music and song. Steve Smith will be the Master of Ceremonies during the bank-side event. Chief Cochese II will fire a gun and beat the drum to summon the arrival of the canoes. After the arrival, a 10-minute fireworks display will be provided by Ralph Comeaux, Jr.

After the bayou ceremonies, activities move to the Carl F. Grant Civic Center for the formal presentation of Evangeline and the Princesses. 2009 Evangeline Margaret Beatty will do her farewell walk and “Thank You” speech and then Bahry will be crowned as festival queen. The official presentation of the 2010 Festival Parade Marshal will be made when Joyce Hebert presents the Gary J. Hebert Jr. Memoral plaque to the new grand marshal. After toasting this year’s grand marshall, a public reception and dance will be held from 9 p.m. to 12:20 p.m. Music will be provided by “Color Blind”.

Robbie Navarre is this year’s KC head festival chairman, while Barry Comeaux and Mike Watts are co-chairmen.

This year’s Indian Princesses are Blair Griffon, Maegan Best, Alexis Ledet, Kelsie Mills, Jamie Leonard, Shalyn Webre, Katie Lively, Destiny Pierce, Claire Bergeron, Taylor Landry, Caroline Delahaye, Alannah Myers, Kathryn D’Albor, and Haley Allain. They will arrive by canoe in that order during the water ceremony.

NOTE: The festival committee asks that spectators view the bayou water ceremonies from the park pavilion. Parents of the court will be seated at the arrival grounds on the church side of the bayou.