The forecast called for rain last Saturday, putting two ladies in a tough spot with a difficult decision to make.
Should they cancel, reschedule, or will the Leesville Mardi Gras Parade proceed as scheduled?
"When the first forecast came out that said it was going to rain we kept watching it everyday,” said Anne Causey, Greater Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. “Everyday we'd say we'll look at it tomorrow."
Utilizing the weather applications on their smartphones, Causey and Assistant Director Rhonda Martinez focused on the rain that was predicted for the parade start time at 2 p.m.
"I looked at WeatherBug on my phone and it showed that we had a window of clearing on Saturday at parade time,” Causey said. “Rhonda's showed twenty percent and mine said zero percent, and we said that we are going with it based on that. If it should change and storm and we have lightning, we would cancel it on the spot."
Turns out that Causey's weather app nailed it and the call to roll in the rain was the right one. The rain stopped around 12:45 p.m. holding off until after the parade. "I was really proud of all the people who turned out for the parade. I want to thank each one of them," Causey said.
Had the forecast shown nice weather on Sunday Causey said they would have rescheduled the event. The forecast for Sunday, however, showed a chance of rain with much cooler temperatures.
Another consideration in the rescheduling was the shutting down of the KSC railroad track. KCS agreed to shut the main line down during the festivities on Saturday so that the parade route could cross the tracks safely.
Rescheduling would require a new request be submitted to the railroad company for approval.
One person who was pleased with the decision to keep the parade on schedule is Isabelle Massart-Bursch of Leesville. "I am so glad that the rain did not stop Leesville's citizens from coming and watching the parade," she said. "Being from Belgium where we have celebrated Mardi Gras for centuries, I am so pleased to be able to continue this tradition in Leesville with wonderful friends and family. Nothing will stop us from laissez les bons temps rouler," Bursch said.
Lisa Franklin, who was a participant in the parade and part of the Krewe de Fous Amis. "We have a great time participating in Leesville's Mardi Gras activities each year,” she said. “Thanks to everyone who works so hard on the festivities.”
The winning entry in this year's parade was that of Market Basket. "They put together a good float and I think it was well decorated," Causey said.
With this year's event behind them, Causey and Martinez are already looking forward to and planning for next year's parade.
"What we'd really like to see next year is more krewes,” Causey said. “What makes the parade more fun is when people get together and say let's form a krewe, build a float and enter the parade.”