Caroldale neighbors believe in tradition

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 13, 2004

By Anna Monica – Correspondent

If all neighbors everywhere got along as well as those in the Caroldale Subdivision of Grand Point/Paulina in St. James Parish, that would be the answer to world peace. It surely seems that way when twice a year, area residents gather for a “block party,” an ongoing tradition, for almost nineteen years now.

The bi-annual event takes place at Easter time (Holy Thursday) when the men get together to boil crayfish and fry fish. The neighbors of the community feel they have some of the best cooks around and set out to prove it to perhaps a hundred of their own. At Halloween time, the group gets together again for hamburgers, hot dogs, jambalaya and perhaps a rabbit sauce piquant (or other wild game). While the men handle the hot stoves, the ladies produce the desserts and there is always plenty of everything for a party that does not watch the clock.

The passing of years has left the group with fewer young children, but the older ones still have their good memories and their fun. There was a time they played baseball and volleyball and a large area had to be blocked off for the youngsters to stay out of harm’s way. A scavenger hunt would take place for the ladies and children while the men “stayed glued to the television if there was football.”

Kelly and Stephen “Lukie” Louque and Kerry and Joan Lambert were the first to build on the street. The past and present neighbors of this “U” shape area boasts of their friendliness and eagerness to help each other like “one big family.” The very first block party was at the home of Larry and Renee Waguespack in October, 1985 and it started with a barbecue. Danny and Sherry Martin were hosts this time, having renovated their once pleasant outdoor kitchen to even greater heights. The neighbors take turns hosting the parties and Mark and Debbie Millet used to surprise the then-young children as the Easter Bunny. Other hosts have been Janelle and Ricky Millet, Mark and Edie Lambert and “Lukie” and Kelly Louque.

At one time, all parents were required to bring a dozen of plastic eggs with candy for the children. Kelly Louque says that children who used to cry at the party are now twenty to twenty-three years old. This Easter, the youngest children there were eighteen-month old Tayden Haydel, whose grandmother, Edie Haydel Guedry, lives in the neighborhood and three-year-old Alyson Louque, daughter of Gerard and Becky, the youngest resident.

As they shared food and drink, the neighbors also shared laughter in some past memories such as Keith and Linda Scharwath having to leave the party because she went into labor and the sight of Reggie Melancon, with lights on, cutting his grass at midnight because they had locked him out of his house. Reggie used to play the guitar for the children at the block parties.

In the middle of it all, there was no doubt about the pride and solidarity of the Caroldale group. They already were talking about plans for their next block party in October. In St. James Parish, they are serious about tradition!