Locals use social networking to bring back memories

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What started as an innocent get together with old friends from the River Parishes area has blossomed into quite a huge deal, thanks to the strong networking capabilities of Facebook, coupled with the even stronger sense of community within the River Parishes.

“When I was growing up in St. John Parish, everybody knew everybody. Ironically enough, it was one of the things I didn’t like so much when I was younger, but now that I’m older and moved away, it’s more endearing to me” said Traci Howard, creator of the Bayou Blast from the Past. “I’ve travelled extensively over the course of my career, and met many people, but never have I experienced a community and culture with so much heart and soul… and I know that I’m not the only one that feels that way – there are so many people that have left the River Parishes over the years, for one reason or another, but still have a soft spot for the Bayou culture.”

The group got its humble beginnings with five members – and had grown to over 2,700 members in less than a week. Many people have posted pictures of businesses and buildings that are long gone, newspaper clippings and menus from their favorite restaurants, some of which include Airline Motors in LaPlace, Frostop, Leon Godchaux High School and years of bonfire concoctions from a “choo choo” train to a football helmet.

The group’s second annual event, tagged the Bayou Blast from the Past, will be held at Cadillac’s Rockin’ Country Bar and Grill in LaPlace on Saturday, Sept. 3.

The group isn’t just for Facebook members – anyone who grew up in the River Parishes area is encouraged to come out and watch the slideshow, have some free jambalaya and listen to live music featuring Flashback. Many area merchants have also donated door prizes that will be given away at the event, which will also feature a professional photographer so that pictures can be posted online.

“We have even arranged for hotel discounts at the Best Western for people travelling from out of town, and will give everyone a commemorative gift that comes to the Blast. We want to make this a special event that everyone will want to attend every summer,” said Howard.

The event is being coordinated by Scott Madere of LaPlace and Traci Howard of Dallas. If interested in contributing or would like more information for the event, contact Scott at 985-224-8248 or Cadillac’s Bar and Grill at 985-224-2818.