Congratulations to the “Louisiana Celebration Riverboat” for bringing home another Rose Parade win for the second year in a row!
The float won the Showmanship and Entertainment Award thanks to its Female Vocalist of the Year, Laney Wilson, and her song that “makes you want to get up and dance.” Watch the float sail down the parade route below!
Turn on your TV at 10 a.m. tomorrow to see the “Louisiana Celebration Riverboat” take the national stage at the 134th Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA.
Following last year’s Wrigley Legacy Award, the bar is set high for this year’s float. The 30 ft. tall, double decker steamboat is meant to embody the spirit of New Orleans and highlight the cruises that explore the Mississippi River.
“I was thinking what would say New Orleans and say Louisiana? The Mississippi is such a big part of our economy and now with the new cruise boats going upriver, we wanted to highlight that people can take a cruise out of New Orleans and get off on many stops up the Mississippi River. Normally, they would go out to sea, come back, spend a night and go home. We got a chance to get visitors and stop in many cities up and down the Mississippi River. So we’ve been talking about that all week: nationally, internationally with interviews all over the world. And so it gave us a chance to highlight that and highlight the cruise boats there in New Orleans on the Mississippi River as well,” Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser said.
Not only will the float design showcase Louisiana, but the ambassadors aboard the float will also represent the state’s different areas and commodities.
The lt. governor said last year’s Rose Parade float carried a teacher of the year, a police officer, a nurse and a doctor who all worked during the dangers of the pandemic, but this year it will showcase the good in the state with Louisiana Fair and Festival Queens and a Shriner’s Hospital ambassador.
“These young ladies have to compete for their crown. They’ve got to know their stuff about their parish, their festival, their history, their culture and they’ve got to have that passion. What better ambassadors to tell the story of all of Louisiana?” he said.
The queens and other ambassadors were selected by their region to represent some of Louisiana’s best commodities like strawberries and cotton.
Unlike the other ambassadors who are LAFF, Miss America and Miss USA system queens, the Shriner’s Hospital ambassador is a young woman who survived and beat bone disease.
Nungesser said, “We have a young lady who survived a horrible bone disease that was treated at Shriner’s Hospital. We wanted to highlight the 100 year anniversary of that incredible hospital that started another great positive story out of Louisiana. So that young lady will be riding next to me on the float and real proud to talk about that hospital.”
With the recent flight issues, some of the queens and volunteers had to make the 28-hour car ride to make it to Pasadena in time for the Rose Parade for this “chance of a lifetime.”
He said the women and volunteers making that decision proved that they made the right choice in selecting them saying, “Their passion for Louisiana, shines bright here in California.”
The queens, their families and other volunteers, who made the 28-hour drive just to decorate the float, have been working tirelessly to bring the massive float together these past few days.
Seeds, flowers and other foliage had to tediously be hand-placed to cover every inch of the two story steamboat float.
“It’s 130,000 plus weeds, seeds, flowers, roses and orchids. There are flowers I’ve never seen before in my life from all over the world. And many of the queens and their families who are here with them, volunteered. We started at five in the morning and ten or eleven o’clock at night, different shifts,” the lt. governor said.
Louisiana was also honored to bring one of its commodities to be used by the organization’s chef in a dessert. Thanks to Liuzza Land and Tangi Tourism, people were lined up to get a Louisiana strawberry pie.
“We’re just so glad Tangi partnered with us and wanted to provide those and we appreciate what the Liuzza’s did because it just made it that much more special. You know, we had Louisiana seafood out here. But to top it off with those great strawberries, really made the day,” said Nungesser.
The “Louisiana Celebration Riverboat’s” featured performer will be country artist and Female Vocalist of the Year, Laney Wilson.
Nungesser said, “Laney Wilson is a rock star. When we picked her, she was a little known singer from Lafayette, and then months later, she gets “Female Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year.” She has got the love and passion of Louisiana, and she just, she’s gonna be a superstar. I can just see her love and passion for people. She socializes and talks to everybody and just is an incredible ambassador.”
The finishing touches were put onto the float late last night for this morning’s judging, and the lt. governor described the float saying, “It stole the hearts of many of the people working there, they are just so overly in awe with the way it came out.”
The state tourism office is hopeful that the float that stole their hearts will generate as much revenue as last year’s despite the state’s rising homicide mortality rate.
“I think you know, we’ve got to work hard to do what we can. It definitely hurts and we’ve got to fix it. If we don’t fix it soon, it could really, we could pay the price for many years. So we’ve been working hard to try to get some kind of authority to partner to clean up the French Quarter. But you know, we haven’t been successful yet, but we’re gonna keep working at it,” Nungesser said.
Last year, the 2022 float brought in an estimated $20 million in additional revenue and increased bookings for Mardi Gras trips.
“We saw people booking trips to Mardi Gras all over Louisiana. Our website use I think was up 800% and so you know, at the end of the year, you’re thinking about where you’re going to go on vacation with your New Year’s resolution. And what a better time to make Louisiana shine and it really helps kickoff Mardi Gras season and get people excited about coming to Mardi Gras. That’s why we saw record numbers for Mardi Gras last year all over Louisiana, family friendly, affordable, safe Mardi Gras in every corner of the state. And I think every area had record numbers except New Orleans was down a little bit. So we were really proud that we were able to promote Mardi Gras in every corner of the state,” Nungesser said.
If you are ready to get into the Mardi Gras spirit a little early, then look for the “Louisiana Celebration Riverboat” in the Rose Parade tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. on NBC, ABC, your local broadcasting station or stream with Peacock.
“We just want everybody to go out watch the parade Monday morning. It’s gonna be incredible. I hope all of Louisiana is as proud as I am. When they see that float rolling down the streets of Pasadena,” Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser said.
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