83rd Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival Queen Caylee Deshotel
—Peter Bello Photography
Deshotel fondly remembers her reign
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a farewell statement from Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival Queen Caylee Deshotel who will crown her successor during the festival coronation at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Morgan City Municipal Auditorium.
When reflecting on the past year as the 83rd Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival Queen, one word comes to mind: enriched — enriched by the tradition, history and culture within this beautiful state. Because like Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser says, “Louisiana isn’t for spectators. It’s for participants — for those that want to feed their soul and not only live in the moment, but to become the moment.” (From louisianatravel.com)
One year ago, I was given the great honor to represent and promote the Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival across Louisiana. In doing this, I, myself, fed my soul and became the moment as I tasted sugar cane in New Iberia, picked cotton in Ville Platte, threshed rice in Crowley, fed alligators in Bridge City, slid down the levee in Lutcher, picked oranges in Plaquemines Parish, celebrated Mardi Gras in Washington, D.C., watched an animal skinning in Cameron Parish, held a frog in Rayne, picked strawberries in Ponchatoula, painted corn in Bunkie, went crawfishing in Breaux Bridge, rode through the Floral Trail on carriages in New Orleans, toured a shrimp boat in Delcambre, and shot skeet in Gueydan.
These experiences not only informed and entertained me — they enriched me. But more importantly, they taught me just how unique the Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival really is. The state’s oldest chartered-harvest festival is a tradition that was established in 1936 that began with a friendly celebration when the port of Morgan City and Berwick received the first boatload of jumbo shrimp (shrimpandpetroleum.org). No other festival does it quite like Shrimp and Petroleum. The Blessing of the Fleet, Mass in the Park, coronation and ball, Artists Guild Unlimited Art Show, and several others are all one-of-a-kind experiences only showcased here in Morgan City.
I have attended the Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival since I was born in 1998. I always adored the beautiful girl that wore this crown every year, and I never imagined I’d have the privilege to be that girl one day. However, I’ve learned that this crown is so much more than the girl wearing it. It’s a representation of the shrimp and petroleum industries, and those who have worked tirelessly to provide these commodities.
What was once a dream is now a reality, and soon, it’ll be a legacy. As my year comes to an end, I can’t help but feel thankful. Thankful for the memories, opportunities, and friendships that I’ve made along the way. My life will forever be enriched by this experience.