Earlier this month, the spirit of New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana was alive and on display in Pasadena, California at the 2023 Rose Parade, especially with Louisiana’s Feed Your Soul parade float, presented by Louisiana Travel. According to this article from The Houma Times, the float was designed to showcase Louisiana in both a classic and reimagined light, and it turned out to be a great success.
Louisiana’s Feed Your Soul float, presented by Louisiana Travel, was designed as a way to honor what representatives call “the best of what Louisiana has to offer.” The float itself featured 21 Louisiana fair and festival queens from across the state and a former patient of Shreveport’s Shriners Hospital. Aesthetically, the float depicted an undisputed icon of Louisiana culture and history– the riverboat, which is also known as the paddlewheel steamboat. This riverboat was decorated extensively with live flowers, leaves, and seeds to recreate the foliage and aesthetic nature of the Louisiana wetlands.
Before the float took to the streets of Pasadena, California, Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser was asked about Louisiana’s participation in the parade, to which he said, “we’re excited to return to the Rose Parade to showcase all the ways you can Feed Your Soul in Louisiana. All of our riders are an excellent representation of the celebratory spirit of Louisiana. We love a parade in Louisiana and we will be kicking off carnival season a few days early [in] January when our float rolls through the streets of Pasadena.”
Louisiana’s Feed Your Soul float, presented by Louisiana Travel, also served as an opportunity to represent convention bureaus, visitors bureaus, and tourism boards from across the state in the form of five premier sponsors. Those sponsors included the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission, Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau, Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau, Tangipahoa Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Visit Baton Rouge.
The theme of the 134th annual Rose Parade was titled, “Turning the corner,” which asked premier sponsors to share how their area of the state had turned a corner into a brighter future. This float proved to be a great success, as it won the 2023 Rose Parade’s Showmanship award for the most outstanding display of both showmanship and entertainment. According to The Orange County Register, the float was among 23 award-winning floats at this year’s Rose Parade.
Lt. Governor Nungesser commented on how Louisiana fits this theme by saying, “t is thrilling to be joined this year by our sponsors and to host these 20 Louisiana queens aboard the Louisiana float. All our efforts in the travel and tourism industry in Louisiana are focused on working with our local partners to drive visitation to every corner of the state. As I always say, if you can eat it, shoot it, catch it, or dance to it, we name a festival after it in Louisiana. This year’s riders are wonderful stewards of our festivals and culture, but also outstanding members of their community that demonstrate the welcoming and neighborly nature of Louisianans.”
The Louisiana Office of Tourism had invested $350,000 to produce their entry in the 134th annual Rose parade, but according to Assistant Tourism Secretary Doug Bourgeois, the “faux steamboat is meant to lure onlookers from around the globe to visit the Bayou State” as it is a “is a promotional bargain for the state.” Outside of the Rose Parade, this was the second time in two months that a Louisiana-themed parade float had been present on a national stage, due to the $1.4 million alligator float that took to the streets of New York City in November’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. With these multiple Louisiana-themed parade floats being showcased nationally, soon more and more will come to Louisiana to be enriched by the deep-seated culture that the state has to offer.
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