King Day events planned in St. John, St. Charles

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 16, is quickly approaching and in memorial of his great accomplishments, marches will be held in St. John and St. Charles parishes. The theme for the St. John march this year is &#8220From Struggles to Strength.”

The march begins at East St. John Elementary on Jan. 16 promptly at 9 a.m. The route then travels by foot on U.S. Highway 61 to the St. John Courthouse Annex at 1801 W. Airline Hwy where the nearly two-hour march culminates for additional proceedings. The Grand Marshal of the event, who has yet to be finalized, will also speak after the march. St. John Parish students from grades 3-12 are participating in a MLK essay contest with the winner from each school reading their essay at the courthouse annex following the march, according to Ann Harvey of Ann Harvey and Associates Realty. Harvey has helped coordinate the event for the Bethlehem Baptist Missionary Church for the past five years.

The essay contest is sponsored by the Planning Committee of the St. John Baptist Parish Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration and should answer the question, &#8220What does the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. mean to me?”

&#8220We want all students to express their thoughts in writing about the meaning of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy. It’s important that our youth remember why we honor Dr. King with a national holiday,” said Patrick Sanders, a planning committee member and a St. John Parish School Board member.

First, second and third place awards will be presented in three categories – Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, and Grades 9-12. The deadline for the competition is Jan. 12.

Harvey would like Parish officials to take this event seriously by setting an example and attending.

&#8220It’s important for our parish and school board officials to participate,” Harvey said. &#8220Even if they can’t be here themselves, they can at least send a representative in their place to show the public we’re there too.”

Harvey is also hoping that the St. John Council on Aging will participate in the event.

The march is strictly for walking, according to Harvey. There will be no cars allowed in the parade. Disabled citizens who require assistance should arrive early to the event and a junior member of the church should be able to help them.

&#8220After the march we’ll have our guest speaker speak, essay readings from the children, black and regular national anthems and hopefully one of the drill teams can perform,” Harvey said. &#8220We’re planning on having a really good time.”

For information, or to help with this event, call Ann Harvey at (985) 651-7253 or (985) 969-7190.

St. Charles Parish is holding their annual Martin Luther King Jr. Pilgrimage March and Program on Jan. 16 starting at 10 a.m.

The route is scheduled to start at the Hale Boggs Bridge and end at the courthouse in Hahnville for noon. The guest speaker this year is Wendy J. Williams.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Organization of St. Charles Parish is sponsoring the program.

For information on this event, call (985) 783-2361.