This year’s grand marshal for the Krewe of Des Allemands parade is Yvonne “Choote” Troxler Champagne.
Champagne, 78, is a widower having formerly been married to Kenneth Champagne, who passed away a few years ago.
A native of Taft, where she lived for 55 years, Champagne has been a Hahnville resident for over 22 years.
Champagne said she is elated to be leading the parade.
“I was honored to be chosen. The only parade I ever rode in was in New Orleans when I was in high school, which was a very long time ago – I graduated in 1953,” she said.
Although she has little experience riding in parades, Champagne’s association with Mardi Gras goes back to her childhood when her mother would take her into New Orleans.
“When I was very young my mom used to take me and she had some friends that lived on the parade route in New Orleans. She used to dress us in costumes,” she said. “It was very exciting to see all the people and the floats, of course in those days it was not as lavish as it is now. We looked forward to it.”
Despite growing up going to Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, the self proclaimed “country girl” said she enjoys the Krewe of Lul so much more.
“You stay with people and have a great time and then you go out and watch it. Being local you know the people too, so it’s more special,” she said.
Parade-goers should look forward to Champagne’s special throw, which is a frosted cup with her nickname “Choote” along with the parade name, date and the image of a jester.
Champagne retired after a 41-year career with American Cyanamid Chemical Company and has been a very active volunteer with the Busy Bees, the annual blood drive at American Legion Post 131. She is also a Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion at Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Hahnville.
Grand Marshal Champagne will be easy to spot at the front of the parade riding in a black Corvette convertible alongside her grandson, Ryan Dupuy, who will be riding with her.