IN SAINT MARTINVILLE — Community members gather every Mardi Gras Sunday for the Newcomers Parade. The Parade was one of the biggest in Louisiana next to New Orleans but was shut down 6 years ago, due to safety concerns in the community.
Although the Newcomers Club haven't been able to hold their own parade in a few years, the club still finds a way for the community to come together and celebrate Mardi Gras.
The festival replaces the parade and has local vendors, food, and even a small train for the children. Club President Clara Jean-Batiste says gathering on Mardi Gras Sunday is important for the community.
"Being that we haven't had a parade since 2015, we try to put on a festival to get the community out and enjoy that Sunday," said Jean-Bastiste.
Pete Patterson, a supporter of bringing the parade back, is passionate about its return.
"What needs to happen, to make it happen every other small town smaller than us even got a parade," said Pete Patterson, "Why we don't have the parade?"
We asked the Club President the reason for the parade being shut down.
"They had a lot of issues with safety and security so that's why we haven't had one," Clara Jean-Baptiste said, "Now we are now trying to sit at a table and with everyone that's involved in this to talk about having it in 2024."
The Newcomers Club held its parade for 50 years and hopes to see it return in the near future.
"We want to continue and pass it down to the next generation and the next generation. It's something that has been there forever and we are trying to keep it here, tradition," said Joann Etienne, a member of the Newcomers Club.