Hughes crowned 2015 Miss Jambalaya Queen

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Alyssa LeaAnn Hughes

On Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3 the Jambalaya Festival Association’s annual Queen’s Pageant was held at the Gonzales Civic Center.

The contest saw seven young ladies competing for the coveted titles of Teen and Miss Gonzales Jambalaya Queen. Among the Teen Contestants were Marlee Hebert, Jenna Cornett, Emilie Schwing and Grace Graugnard. After answering an onstage question and participating in the Evening Gown Competition, outgoing Teen Queen Berkley Parent gave her farewell address to the crowd. Berkley spoke of her travels as Teen Queen and thanked her parents for being there every step of the way throughout her year as queen.

Teen contestants were awarded Miss Congeniality, Fashion, Photogenic and Queen.

Second Runner up in the Teen Division was Miss Jenna Cornett, First Runner Up in the Teen Division was Miss Emilie Schwing. Grace Graugnard of Geismar was crowned the 2015 Teen Miss Gonzales Jambalaya Queen.

Graugnard is the 16-year-old daughter of James and Rebecca Graugnard of Geismar. A sophomore at Dutchtown High school, Graugnard is a member of the Griffin Girls dance team, National Beta club, and Spanish club. She was recently appointed Sophomore Historian for the DTHS Student Council and maintains a 4.5 grade point average. In her free time, Grace enjoys visiting nursing homes in the Gonzales area. She recently founded the Kindness Cards Project at Dutchtown High School where students receive anonymous cards containing positive messages.

Contestants in the Miss Division included Dallas Lipoma, Kolbie Larimore and Alyssa Hughes. Contestants began the day with an interview competition in front of a panel of distinguished judges. Contestants were asked questions about themselves and the festival history. Following interviews, contestants answered an onstage question and competed in the Evening Gown Competition.

Outgoing Queen Lauren Blouin was presented in full train and mantle escorted by her father, Leon Blouin, onstage for her final walk as queen. Blouin addressed the crowd for one last time as queen mentioning her year as queen being one of the most memorable of her life. She thanked the JFA for all of the support given to her throughout her reign.

Following the conclusion of Blouin’s farewell address, Miss contestants were awarded Miss Congeniality, Fashion, Photogenic and Queen. Second Runner up in the Miss Division was Miss Dallas Lipoma. First Runner Up was Miss Kolbie Larimore leaving Miss Alyssa Hughes crowned as the 2015 Jambalaya Queen.

Alyssa LeaAnn Hughes is the 18-year-old daughter of Preston and Pam Hughes of Prairieville. She is a senior at Dutchtown High School and will be graduating May 17, 2015. While attending Dutchtown, Alyssa began an awareness organization, “Sit Strap Save” which raises awareness for proper child restraint in vehicles. She also served as an active member of the DTHS Allied Health Program where she was able to volunteer for the Special Olympics, Relay for Life and school fundraisers. Hughes is an active member of Ascension Parish 4-H through which she was recently awarded 3rd place at LSU 4-H University for her project in Solutions Unlimited.

Hughes will reign over the 48th annual Festival held May 22 – 23. As JFA Queen, she will serve as an ambassador for the Association and the City of Gonzales by traveling throughout Louisiana visiting numerous fairs and festivals. Hughes will also compete for the title of Louisiana Association of Fairs and Festivals, Queen of Queens during the annual convention held in February.

Also apart of Saturday’s Pageant festivities were Queen’s Day events hosted by outgoing queens Blouin and Parent. The events welcomed 21 visiting queens from across Louisiana. The Queens participated in their very own “mini-pot” cooking contest, which has now become a tradition during the Pageant Weekend Festivities. Father of Teen Queen Berkley, and 2007 World Champion, Jeff Parent, instructed queens on how to cook a mini pot jambalaya as well as teaching the ladies the “10 Commandments of cooking jambalaya”.

The 68th Orange Festival Queen, Eden Bubrig and 78th Greater New Orleans Floral Trail Queen, Faith Baggett took the title of Queens Mini Pot Champions.

On Sunday, May 3, the Association hosted its annual Baby and Junior Royalty competition with over 50 girls and boys participating in the pageant.

Junior Royalty is as follows:

Baby King-Dannon Smiley, 1-year-old son of Jared and Misty Smiley

Junior King- Kalep Korne, 4-year-old son of Miki Martin and Brent Korner

Baby Miss- Demi Labbe, 9-month-old daughter of Ben and Courtney Labbe

Toddler Miss- Lexi Tripp, 1-year-old daughter of Marty and Dena Tripp

Tiny Miss- Brooklyn Hebert, 3-year-old daughter of Michelle Gordon and Brock Hebert

Petite Miss- Makaela Buratt, 5-year-old daughter of Shawn and Rebecca Buratt

Mini Miss- Chloe Bumgardner, 8-year-old daughter of Rachel Laborde and John Bumgardner

Deb Miss- Kyleigh Pearson, 9-year-old daughter of Kevin and Lanie Pearson

Junior Miss- Ava Savoy, 12-year-old daughter of Ricky and Tiffany Savoy