Riverside creates own Shangri-La

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 26, 2014

By Monique Roth

LAPLACE – The courtyard of Riverside Academy was filled with the sights, sounds and tastes of the Orient at the school’s sixth annual Arts Festival held on March 20.

The annual event is partially funded by the River Region Arts and Humanities Council and the Arts Council of New Orleans. Each year, a different culture is celebrated and showcased at the school’s festival. This year, the festival paid tribute to the Asian culture with the theme “Shangri-La.”

Assistant Principal Rhonda Perkins said the school is “passionate about the arts”, and that RA is one of seven schools in Louisiana that is considered an A+ school in art. The distinction was granted by the George Rodrigue Foundation.

The RA band and chorus provided entertainment, and a golf cart parade kicked off the festivities. A 30-foot dragon created by volunteers Penny Triche and Leslie Noyes was a highlight of the night.

Preschool through 12th-graders participated in the festivities by marching, dancing and performing various songs.

A special guest of the evening was Sugai Barker and the Japanese Folk Dance Troupe. Barker is the 88-year-old leader of the troupe. She led the group in several traditional Japanese folk dances.

A martial arts demonstration by Sibleys’ Taekwondo Plus, a tour of Asia via outside projection, Chinese dragon puppets, haiku poetry, hand painted fans and parasols and coloring contest artwork all decorated the courtyard.

An assortment of food including chicken teriyaki, sweet and sour pork, eggrolls, fried rice and an array of desserts were available for purchase.