Tuesday, July 7, 2015
St. John the Baptist Parish – Parish President Natalie Robottom and the Parish Council recently hosted the 10th Annual Veterans Luncheon and the 15th Annual Independence Day Celebration.
President Robottom and her Administrative staff, Parish Council Members, Local, State and Federal Elected Officials, and special guests joined over 450 veterans and their spouses at a luncheon in the Louisiana Army National Guard Readiness Center in Reserve. The annual event paid homage to veterans and service members with a video tribute during the lunch. St. John the Recreation summer campers designed coasters for each attendee to utilize and take home as a keepsake.
Dr. Calvin Moret, a renowned Tuskegee Airmen, was the keynote speaker. Moret is the last surviving member of the Tuskegee Airmen in Louisiana. The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of African-American pilots who fought in World War II and were the first pilots in the United States military. In 2007, he received the Congressional Gold Medal at the White House and is now the subject of the documentary “Airman: the Extraordinary Life of Calvin G. Moret.” During his speech, he spoke of his unique experiences as an Airman, answered questions from veterans and shared his view on patriotism. “When asked to serve, there was no hesitation,” Moret said. “It was what you wanted to do, protect and uphold the values of your country, even when others doubted you.”
Later that evening, thousands of residents gathered on the grounds of St. Peter’s Church and the St. John the Baptist Church in Edgard to commemorate the holiday with food, fun and music. The event was filmed on the East and West banks of the parish and broadcasted live on the Government Access Channel and the Parish website.
Festivities included raising the U.S. flag, a balloon release, children’s activities, food, and music. The St. John Parish Young Marines led the opening ceremony on the East Bank, and attendees were treated to entertainment by St. Peter School Cheerleaders, Dance Etc., Abby Schull and Chrissy Cifuentes. In Edgard, St. John the Baptist Parish Catholic Church held its annual fundraiser featuring local favorites such as jambalaya, chicken wings and sweets while attendees were serenaded to the sounds of DJ Alvin Gros. Performances by singers, Diandra Baham and Amina Blackman also took place in Edgard. Interviews with Parish Officials, members of the St. John Theatre, Festival Queens, and community leaders were conducted throughout the evening.
To conclude the event, St. John residents and visitors were treated to a spectacular fireworks show and music at 9:00 p.m. “I would like to thank all of my staff, our sponsors and volunteers who made both of our events successful. It takes a great team to host such spectacular events and the smiling faces of adults and children make it all worthwhile,” said President Robottom.