Parish President Natalie Robottom and the Parish Council hosted the 6th Annual Veterans Luncheon and the 9th Annual Independence Day Celebration Along the River this Fourth of July weekend.
As attendance at the Veterans Luncheon has grown each year, it was relocated to the Southeast National Guard Readiness Center in Reserve to allow for additional space. Over 350 veterans and their guests attended this year’s event, filling the new venue to capacity. “I was extremely pleased with this year’s attendance at the luncheon and the Readiness Center was a perfect location. A great deal of time is spent preparing for this event because we want it to be special for our veterans. This year’s event was the biggest and best yet, but it still seems like so little when compared to the sacrifices made by our veterans for the freedoms we enjoy today,” said President Natalie Robottom.
Mr. Walter Mlynarski, a disabled veteran and the Director of Veterans Outreach Programs for the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs, was overwhelmed by the number of Veterans in attendance. Mlynarski addressed the group and discussed an array of benefits and services available to veterans and the importance of providing special programs for Louisiana’s Veterans. General Bryan Roberts, Deputy Commander, United States Recruiting Command, personally honored and thanked the Veterans for their service. “Freedom Ain’t Free,” he quoted referring to a hat he spotted during a visit to the Southeast Louisiana War Veterans Home in Reserve. General Roberts also recognized the Young Marines, who greeted veterans and served lunch, as the next generation to represent America for years to come. Congressman Cedric Richmond and Supreme Court Justice John Weimer were also on hand for lunch to express their gratitude.
The fireworks display was also a big hit, despite the threats of the rising Mississippi River and the possibility of thunderstorms. Residents continued to join the celebration on both sides of the river throughout the night making this year’s celebration one of the largest and best ones yet. Festivities included raising the U.S. flag, a balloon release, children’s activities, food, and music began at 6:00 PM. Interviews with Parish Officials, members of the St. John Theatre, Festival Queens, and Sponsors took place throughout the event. The thirty minute fireworks display, conducted by Pyrotecnico started promptly at 9:00 PM.
“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. We’ve already started planning for next year’s events.” stated President Robottom.