Rally supporters want Mardi Gras on Holt Street
PUBLIC RALLY: Supporters who want to keep the Mardi Gras celebration “back of town” on Holt Street held a rally Saturday afternoon at the tennis courts on Reynolds Street. Organizers were protesting the decision by the City Council that the Mardi Gras organized by the Krewe of New Beginnings could not stage the celebration at the tennis courts but could use the pavilion at the frog festival fairgrounds.(Acadian-Tribune Photo by Paul Kedinger)
By PAUL KEDINGER
Those who turned out Saturday afternoon for a protest rally at the tennis courts on Reynolds Street were single-minded in their determination to observe their traditional Mardi Gras on Holt Street.
The rally was called to protest the 4-1 vote decision of the Rayne City Council on Thursday, Feb. 27, offering the use of the frog fairgrounds Pavilion while denying the use of the tennis courts on Reynolds Street due to safety concerns.
That alternative was rejected quickly by Dexter Harmon, a member of the Krewe of New Beginnings. He argued the city could not provide any law or policy that moved the Mardi Gras from Holt Street.
Harmon opened the rally by repeating that contention and questioned why barricades would be put up on Holt Street. “If people aren’t allowed to walk the street, what are the barricades for?” he asked. He continued, “Why blocking only Holt? Why not barricades on other streets on that day (Mardi Gras)?
Harmon then invited Crystal LeBlanc Williams, who spoke during the Feb. 27 special Council meeting. She termed the Council action “an injustice.”
She added, “We can’t allow this. It’s our heritage.” She said the decision “violates our civil rights in that manner.”
Observing the traditional Mardi Gras “is important to us,” Williams said, “We’re going to fight back against this.” Noting the effort will be done intelligently, she concluded, “God is on our side.”
John Rochon then added his voice. “This is our tradition. We’ve always done our thing on Holt Street.”
Noting people put “their heart and soul into their Mardi Gras costumes, Rochon said, “We originated this back of town. That’s our stomping grounds.”
Rose Julian, representing a group called Beautiful Majestic ladies, spoke about her father, Horace Senior Guidry, who grew up on Bella Street. “He was the king of Mardi Gras, which was always on Holt Street where we want it to remain.”
Harmon then announced there would be “a grand march down Holt Street at 2 p.m. on Mardi Gras (Tuesday).
Harmon led the rally group in prayer, exhorting them to “gather in unit of spirit.”
Casting the issue in political terms, Harmon said, “The official Mardi Gras is the November 4 election,” announcing a move to remove Roland Boudreaux as mayor and
Carroll Stelly as police chief. He also called for the removal of Robert “Foot” Senegal as street commissioner. He announced to the rally crowd that Danny Harmon would be running against Stelly in the Nov. 4 primary election.
No specific opponent to Roland Boudreaux was announced.