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Gatorganza replaces Alligator Festival this year

By Allen Lottinger -   Jan 26, 2006

hither ‘n yon
Ye Publisher
It was some 26 years ago when St. Charles Parish Rotarians began wondering how they could make money to benefit worthwhile causes.

The alligator had just been taken off the endangered species list and hunting was to be allowed during the month of September in Louisiana for commercial production. A state wildlife and fisheries agent suggested that a festival promoting the reptile as a food item could benefit the state economy.

And then it dawned that an alligator festival was the way to go. It would blend in to a state full of festivals promoting state products.

The festival was modest during the first years when it was held on the driving range at Willowdale Country Club. As it grew, it moved to Holy Rosary Church in Hahnville and then a shaded area in front of Coronado Park Subdivision in Luling.

The site finally rested at the West Bank Bridge Park and has remained there ever since. Until . . . last year when Hurricane Katrina intervened.

The storm struck at the end of August and last year’s festival was scheduled at the end of September. People in St. Charles were still fixing up their homes and helping others do so and were not quite ready to start working on a festival to promote the alligator.

So, for the first time in its 25-year history, the Alligator Festival for 2005 was cancelled. But some Rotarians were not happy to just do nothing.

Lauren Lemmon and others decided to come up with a replacement that would not be as time-consuming as the festival and would not take as many hands to manage. After all, the Alligator Festivals of the past not only consumed the time of Rotarians but many other civic clubs in the parish who used it to earn money for their causes.

Lemmon pushed the idea at one of the Rotary meetings that they should hold a Gatorganza which would be a night out with entertainment and food and a chance to win $10,000. The club bought it and scheduled it for February 18 at Dougie V’s in Luling.

After finding out how to spell “Gatorganza,” ye publisher announced it in the Herald-Guide. And the event is well on its way to giving local folks a fun night out and helping to raise funds for charitable causes.

Tickets are available at Lemmon’s law office, Dougie V’s or from any member of the St. Charles Rotary Club. They cost $100 for a couple to enjoy the evening and have a chance to win the big money or one of many other prizes.

We’re not sure if alligator will be on the menu, but we are assured that a lot of other good food will be available. Plus a lot of music and dancing to entertain you.

Check it out. This may be the only Gatorganza in history unless another Katrina hits.

This coming September, plans are to restore the Alligator Festival as an annual affair. One that has become a highlight of the year in St. Charles.

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