St. John Sugar Queen pageant Saturday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 10, 2011

By David Vitrano


LAPLACE – Ten young women from across St. John the Baptist Parish will be hitting the stage at St. John Theatre in Reserve Saturday Night as they compete for the St. John Sugar Queen crown.

The theme for the evening, “Celebrate America,” was, as usual, chosen by former Sugar Queen Maria Hotard-Stelly.

“We’re not just doing it from a patriotic perspective,” said Hotard-Stelly.

She explained the theme will extend to the musical and entertainment spectrum of American history, as well. Songs of different eras,

from the Andrews Sisters to

Elvis to the present day, will

feature prominently in the evening’s entertainment, she said. Some

of the area’s young men will also

get in on the act with the tuxedo show.

“It should be a good show,” she added.

One of the reason’s St. John’s annual pageant shines so brightly is because of the hard work and dedication of Hotard-Stelly, Suzanne Entremont Cancienne and Barbara “BaBa” Oncale. Oncale said each of them plays a specific role in the planning, which begins months in advance. In the weeks leading up to the big night, Formal Connection on Belle Terre Boulevard in LaPlace becomes the unofficial Sugar Queen headquarters.

Oncale was quick to point out, however, the three ladies are hardly on their own when it comes to putting the show together.

“We have so many people behind the scenes that do stuff for us,” she said. “Everyone in the community helps out.”

Although the pageant does not start until 7:30 p.m., the pageant contestants will be busy all day, starting with tea at 9:30 a.m. at

the Sugar House in Reserve. At the tea, the young ladies will each have a 15-minute interview with the judges. These interviews not only play a part in deciding who becomes queen but are the major factor in deciding who will take home the “Miss Congeniality”


But the real fireworks will happen at St. John Theatre with a night Oncale promises will “outshine the stars.” She even hinted she will be making a special appearance during the show that is not to be missed.

Tickets for Saturday’s pageant are $10 and are available at the theater box office 30 minutes prior to showtime.