February 2nd means Groundhog Day for most of the country, but here in Acadiana, we have our own weather legend. The Cajun Groundhog, a nutria, known as Pierre C. Shadeaux, predicts seasons differently from the traditional groundhog Punxatawney Phil. Pierre can only tell whether we’ll see a long spring or an early start to summer in Louisiana.
It’s a tradition two decades strong in New Iberia and one the whole community gets involved in.
“We’ve come every year for the last nine years we’ve lived here. Its always a lot of fun to see the community involvement and hear the speeches,” says Cassandra Watson, who attended the event with her husband.
The speeches are given each year by the mayor, a Cajun Groundhog Day marshal and students of Iberia Parish schools.
“Pierre Shadeaux has become a tradition to look forward to in our small town,” says Emma Theriot, who had the first-place speech at the event. Emma says she loves to see the city come together and celebrate.
Emma was one of few who wished the nutria would predict a sooner and longer summer, but her wish came true.
“He just flinched! That means he saw his shadow! Oh my goodness! We are going to have a scorching summer,” said this year’s Cajun Groundhog Day marshal.