Mardi Gras parade for veterans scheduled in Jennings

KATC Story By Valerie Ponseti

JENNINGS, LA. – One Acadiana organization is rounding up a krewe to make sure a special group of revelers are able to enjoy this Mardi Gras.

More than 200 heroes spend their days at the Southwest Louisiana Veterans Home in Jennings; some of them spend every day there.

“They can’t go out and enjoy Mardi Gras like everyone else can,” said Robert Lebon, President of Acadiana Area for Veterans.

So, Lebon and the Acadiana Area for Veterans group are bringing Mardi Gras to them.

“We’re trying to get some chicken chasers, you know from Mamou and stuff. I’ve got some of my members who are willing to chase, we just need some people who will help us do it,” said Lebon.

That help might be closer than you’d think. Like right inside the home, where excited veterans are reminiscing on their favorite carnival season memories.

“I remember my son would throw chickens off of the roof at the house. He had a good time,” said veteran Lloyd Bruchhaus who lives at the home. “They can fly halfway ya know?”

“It’s really nice. You try to throw the beads to the ones that are hollering at you. Everyone’s hollering to see which one you’re going to throw it to,” said Paul Boudreaux, another veteran.

“We enjoyed it. Every year, a few of our buddies would get together and come to Lafayette, we’re from New Iberia. And we’d enjoy the parades,” said David Phillips who also lives at the veterans home.

A band, motorcycle crews and a classic car from Cajun Harley-Davidson to lead the way are all in the works.

“Well we’ve got this cool ’55 Chevy Wagon over there and we like to participate in all of the events that the veterans invite us to participate in and the parade ought to be a lot of fun,” said Shannon Wilkerson, marketing manager for Cajun Harley-Davidson.

The plan is for the parade route to run along the main driveway of the home, but the party isn’t expected to stop there. Organizers hope to finish out the parade indoors to celebrate with those revelers inside.

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