Oct 12, 2010 2:14 AM by Jim Hummel
NFL Hall of Famer Rickey Jackson was supposed to be the guest of honor at this weekend's 62nd Annual Louisiana Cattle Festival in Abbeville, but Jackson was nowhere to be found among the thousands of people who packed the streets. Festival president Francis Plaisance found out early Saturday morning that the former New Orleans Saint would not be attending because of a family emergency. After spending thousands of dollars promoting Jackson as a headliner for the parade, Plaisance was naturally disappointed, and said he felt sympathetic for him; that is until he saw this article in the Mississippi Free Press.
The paper reports Jackson was signing autographs at a Walgreen's store in Pascagoula Saturday (photo, left), the very day of the Cattle Festival parade in Abbeville.
"They were only notified at the Walgreen's there in Pascagoula this Wednesday that he was going to be there so at this point I'm totally confused," said Plaisance. "There were thousands of people on the parade route and that whole situation is a snub to our community, to our citizens."
Jackson's absence from the parade was not only disappointing for festival organizers, but also for those hoping to catch a glimpse of the football-great, those like 8 year old Cole Durke, of Abbeville.
"Well if I'd met him I would have been happy," said Durke. "If he was there, it would have been better."
A representative with the public relations company that scheduled Jackson for the Cattle Festival five months ago was not aware of the autograph signing session in Mississippi, but did say Jackson had a family emergency in Florida.
Meantime Durke and Plaisance are still hoping that Jackson will make a stop in Abbeville.
"I think the community would feel a lot better if there was an effort to rectify the situation," said Plaisance. "I think the only way to do that is with an appearance in our community."