Thursday July 06, 2017
St. John the Baptist Parish – Parish President Natalie Robottom and the Parish Council recently hosted the 12th Annual Veterans Luncheon and the 17th Annual Independence Day Celebration.
President Robottom and her Administrative staff, Parish Council Members, Local, State and Federal Elected Officials, Miss Andouille Queen Janet Nelson and special guests joined over 400 veterans and their spouses at the Veterans luncheon at REGALA Gymnasium in Reserve. The annual event paid homage to veterans and service members with a video tribute during the lunch. Congressman Garret Graves attended the luncheon and provided an update on ongoing projects for the region including the levee project.
Joey Strickland, the LA Secretary of Veteran Affairs, served as the keynote speaker. As Secretary, he oversees Veterans Nursing Homes, State Veterans Cemeteries, the department’s Administrative, Contact Assistance, and Claims Division, the Military Family Assistance Fund, Veterans Honor Medal Program, and advocacy outreach to Veterans Service Organizations, homeless, and women Veterans. Secretary Strickland served over 28 years in the U.S. Army, including two tours of duty in Vietnam. During his speech, he spoke of his patriotism and thanked the Veterans for their unwavering service and commitment to the USA.
Later that evening, hundreds 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. Attendees on the Eastbank were treated to entertainment by St. Peter School Cheerleaders, Aimee’s Dance Academy, and singers Amanda Fortner, Ashtin Fortner Francis and Nathan Joseph. In Edgard, St. John the Baptist Parish Catholic Church held its annual fundraiser featuring local favorites such as jambalaya, chicken wraps and sweets while attendees were serenaded to the sounds of DJ Karen Borne. 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.