Plaquemine Service League hosts annual Sugar Cane Tea

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South
Contestants participating in this year's tea are shown with "Miss Iberville 2015" McKenzie LeBlanc, are Katlyn McGraw, Apryl Olinde, Genesis Bouvay and Madeline Kirby.

Madeline Kirby, the 18-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Klein Kirby of Plaquemine, was recently crowned “Miss Iberville Parish” on Saturday, June 25, 2016 at a tea hosted by the Plaquemine Service League at the Island Country Club home of Mr. and Mrs. Mike Morgan.

Everyone enjoyed the hospitality of the Plaquemine Service League members among the fresh garden arrangements and sugar cane adorning the Morgan home.  The roses and flowers were contributed by League members who also prepared a delicious assortment of hors d’oeuvres.

Four young ladies competed for the honor of representing Iberville Parish as “Miss Iberville” at the annual Louisiana Sugar Cane Fair and Festival which will be held in New Iberia beginning Friday, September 23 through Sunday, September 25, 2016.  Several Louisiana parish queens will compete for the coveted state title of “Queen Sugar”.  

“Miss Iberville 2015” McKenzie LeBlanc presented a bouquet of roses and crowned the new queen, Madeline Kirby, “Miss Iberville 2016”.

Runner up was Miss Katlyn McGraw, First Maid and “Iberville’s Sweet”.  The queen and first maid were presented rose bouquets made by Mrs. Susan B. Landry and banners made by PSL members.

“Miss Iberville 2016” Madeline Kirby will participate in and attend many festivals events beginning the evening of Friday, September 23 and continue through Sunday, September 25.  “Queen Sugar” will be chosen by a panel of judges for her personality, beauty, poise and intelligence from among the sugar producing parishes that participate.

Parish sugar queens and their “Sweets” will reign over the festivities with “King Sucrose” and represent the sugar industry throughout the year.  The festivities will culminate Saturday night with the pageant, coronation and ball.  On Sunday, all parish queens will ride in the “Sugar Growers and Their Royalty” parade with the newly crowned “Queen Sugar” and “King Sucrose” proudly reigning over Sugarland.

“Miss Iberville” Madeline Kirby graduated summa cum laude from the Math, Science & Arts Academy-West with the highest unweighted GPA in her class.  She was selected as Iberville Student of the Year for the 2015-16 school year and was a member of the BETA Club and the National Honor Society.

Miss Kirby created two national award winning, historical documentaries and illustrated a children’s book about taking care of the environment.  She is classically trained in painting and stage craft and has privately and competitively danced for over 13 years.

She tutors elementary school students, has organized various canned food drives and volunteers in the rehabilitation of old structures in Baton Rouge.  Madeline enjoys drawing, painting, playing the guitar and piano, reading, writing, dancing, makeup, photography, calligraphy, theatre and public speaking.  She plans to attend Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in the fall.

First Maid, and “Iberville’s Sweet” Katlyn McGraw, is the 17-year-old daughter of Bart and Donna Himel.  She graduated from MSA-West where she was Valedictorian of her class and aspires to be a neurosurgeon.  She has traveled to Europe, sings and plays the violin and piano and is CPR certified.

She enjoys reading, competitive cheerleading, traveling and music.  She was selected as an Indian Princess to Miss Evangeline and volunteers with the organization We Are the Difference.  She plans to attend Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in the fall.  She will also attend the festival in New Iberia with Madeline.  Other contestants in this year’s program included: Genesis Bouvay and April Olinde.

Judges for the 2016 tea were Erin Bourgeois, Jennifer D’Amico and Theresa Larose.  Mrs. Bourgeois has nearly 15 years experience in marketing, public relations and corporate communications.  She earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from LSU in 2002 and 2004, respectively.

Recently, Erin left her role as Director of Global Communications with an international staffing firm to open “Lula Restaurant Distillery” in New Orleans with her husband, Jess.  “Lula” will be the first restaurant distillery in the state and the southeastern United States and will focus solely on using Louisiana sugar cane to make vodka, gin and rum.  It is set to open this October.  Erin is the former “Miss Iberville 1998” and went on to be selected “Queen Sugar LVII”.  She resides in New Orleans with her husband and young son, Hayes.

Jennifer D’Amico is from Lafayatte, La. and is married to Jeff D’Amico.  They are parents of Anne Bullock and Laura D’Amico.  Mrs. D’Amico attended and graduated from the University of South Louisiana (now ULL) in Lafayette.

Theresa Larose was born and raised in Brusly and graduated from St. John High School.  She is retired from the Louisiana Municipal Government system and has been a resident of Thibodaux, La. for the past 30 years.  She is married to the Honorable Hugh “Buddy” Larose, who is a Louisiana District Court Judge with the 17th Judicial District in Lafourche Parish.  They are the parents of two children, Trey and Genevieve.

Mrs. Larose was crowned “Miss West Baton Rouge Parish 1983” and also went on to be selected “Queen Sugar XLII”.  “It has been a remarkable experience being an ambassador for this all-important industry to our state,” Larose said.  “I consider it an honor and a privilege to be asked to help choose the next Miss Iberville Parish queen.”

Niki Neuman, Sugar Cane Tea Chairperson for the Plaquemine Service League, organized and coordinated the contest together with Audra Desselles, Shannon Morgan and Nealy LeBlanc, along with Louisiana Sugar Cane Fair and Festival Association’s Iberville Parish Director, Madeline Kessler.

The “Miss Iberville” contest would not be possible without the volunteer support of the PSL and the funds generated by the Andrew P. Gay family through generous contributions from local sugar cane growers, Cora Texas Sugar Mill, Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso and the Iberville Parish Council as well as local businesses and industries.