Group celebrates 17 years of volunteering

In beer booth are, from left, Bobby Blanchard, and Michelle and Jeff Sharon.

The Plaquemine July 4th Hometown Celebration is marking its 17th year this year, and Lorraine Hidalgo has been at the helm as the volunteer coordinator for all of those 17 years. And, for all 17 years, she has depended on volunteers Bobby Blanchard, and Michelle and Jeff Sharon to operate the beer booth.

“I’m a firm believer in giving back to your community so it can grow,” said Bobby Blanchard. “I think everyone should give back to their community in some fashion.” He first operated the beer booth by himself, and Michelle and Jeff Sharon worked the coke booth, but as the festival grew in popularity, he needed help.

“Michelle and Jeff have helped me for many years,” he said. Michelle said she enjoys her volunteer time at the festival because she gets to see a lot of people, and because Hidalgo is so organized and City Chief Administrative Officer Richard Alleman has been so helpful to them.

The celebration started at the Iberville Museum site across from the Plaquemine Lock Historic Site, before the Bayou Plaquemine Waterfront Park was built. “Mayor Gulotta had the vision of wanting to move the celebration to the park, and it has grown so much over the years,” Michelle Sharon said. “I know people who come from Baton Rouge to our celebration because it’s so well done.”

“Lorraine really has coordination of this event down – she does a great job,” Michelle said. “I especially appreciate the tribute to veterans.” Alleman has made sure they have a fan in their booth. “We are there rain or shine. I’ve had offers to go other places for July 4th, but this is where I choose. I can’t say no,” she said.

“It’s a great way for Plaquemine to get together and be a community!,” Michelle added. Thanks to Lorraine, Bobby, Michelle and Jeff for their hard work on this great community event!