Crowley Rotary gets inside look at Rice Festival

By: Jeannine LeJeune
CROWLEY - The Crowley Rotary Club’s weekly meeting was a busy one.

Before getting into the meeting’s program, club members were updated on the club’s activities. Their website project is moving along very rapidly as well as their international club projects.

President Isabella delaHoussaye then announced that the club was welcoming two new members, Lauren Taylor and Gerald Dill.

Following their induction, the club’s normal meeting business kicked in when Gene Williams, program organizer and Rice Festival General Chairman, introduced the program, the International Rice Festival.

Festival President Albert Leleux and Webmaster Mike Dubois were on hand to discuss this year’s festival as well as show the club a video that gave an inside look into the festival, particularly their Chef de Riz contest.

“It’s a year-long process planning the festival,” said Leleux.

He explained that his responsibilities as president includes create a pin concept and a theme. The theme for the 74th International Rice Festival is “Who Dat Talk’n ‘Bout Eat’n Some Rice?”

“Had to get a Saints reference in there somewhere,” joked Leleux.

Leleux closed his portion of the presentation inviting everyone to come out and check out every aspect of the Rice Festival before turning the program over to the festival website’s webmaster, Mike Dubois.

Dubois explained that the festival has embraced technology with their iPhone and iPad app, which is free.

“We hope to have an Android app next year,” said Dubois. “The app is also generating sponsorships as well, so it’s been a good thing.”

Dubois also said that last year, the website received 2.2 million hits, and within the last 30 days, it has received 600.

He then showed a video that a college student, Jeremy Campbell, produced two years ago for one of his classes that followed Brandi Martin in her quest to become Chef de Riz of the 72nd International Rice Festival.

The video can be seen on the festival’s website at http://ricefestival.com/chef.html. The video also features several other aspects from the festival.

The video was met with a round of applause, particularly when club member Judge M’elise Trahan appeared in it as a judge of the Chef de Riz contest.

Gene Williams concluded the presentation reiterating the degree of difficulty and how much money it takes to put on a festival of this size.

“It’s very hard to keep a festival like this free, so I urge everyone to come out and support it,” said Williams.

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