Miss Festival Monica, Teen Miss Deslattes shine at Bonfires Pageant

Published 11:45 pm Friday, December 12, 2014

By Stephen Hemelt

LUTCHER — Erin Nicole Monica always admired the tradition that went with the Miss Festival of the Bonfires Pageant festival, so when she found out organizers were opening it up to St. John the Baptist Parish girls a couple of years ago, she couldn’t wait for her opportunity to compete and possibly hold the title of Miss Festival of the Bonfires. 

The LaPlace resident got her wish recently, when she was crowned Miss Festival Nov. 29 at Lutcher High School during the celebration’s 25th anniversary.

“When my name was called, I was in complete shock,” she said. “I felt so honored and was so excited when I finally realized that I would have to chance to represent this community. “

Monica, the 18-year-old daughter of Dawn Monica and Nickie and Carrie Monica, is a senior at St. Charles Catholic, where she is a cheerleader, Student Council member and member of Campus Ministry.

Monica also won the Sparkler Award, voted on by her fellow contestants.

“I am looking forward to traveling our state,” she said. “As a queen, I will be invited to other pageants and festivals all around the state and will be able to teach others about our unique tradition.”

The Festival of the Bonfires Committee also presented the 16th annual Teen Miss Festival, which was won by Kamryn Chanel Deslattes of Paulina.

“When my name was called as the winner, it felt unreal,” Deslattes said. “It actually wasn’t until the next night when I was looking at pictures on Facebook that it hit me that I was really in for the best year of my life as Teen Miss Festival of the Bonfires.”

Deslattes, the 15-year-old daughter of Lionel and Monica Deslattes, is a sophomore at Lutcher High School, where she is a member of the Periquette Dance team, swim team and Beta Club. Deslattes also won the Photogenic Award and Teen Miss Sparkler award.

“The most exciting part about being named queen for me is that I get to follow in the footsteps of former queens and continue to spread our heritage of the River Parishes along with my awesome Miss Queen, Erin,” Deslattes said.

“In the little time that I’ve spent with her, she is always so positive and full of energy and made practices the week before the pageant very enjoyable.”

Deslattes said she first heard of the pageant as a young girl and has participated in the Bonfire Pageant for four years.

“I always looked up to past queens as role models and dreamt of wearing the bonfire crown and sash,” she said. “When I was a little girl, I would dress up my little cousins and make them pretend to be pageant contestants with me; yes, even the boys.”

Other winners in the Miss division were Audrey Martin, first runner up and People’s Choice Award; Paige Bourgeois, second runner up, Baylee Bennett, Fashion Award; and Sydney Jack, Photogenic Award.

Other winners in the Teen division were Hailey Detillier, first runner up; Cassidy Mistretta, second runner up and Fashion Award; and Kavionh Lee People’s Choice Award.  

Monica and Deslattes will travel across the great state of Louisiana for the next year representing the Festival of the Bonfires and the unique traditions of the area.

The newly-crowned queens will be on hand at the Festival of the Bonfires, which continues today and Sunday in Lutcher.