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Pageant queens create chalk art for childhood cancer

DESTREHAN – Businesses and organizations across Louisiana have been temporarily closing up shop to comply with stay-at-home guidelines. Others have had to be more creative with their philanthropic endeavors. Shay Posey and Kristen Hebert, co-founders of the Southern Magnolia Pageant, have found a unique way to raise funds and awareness of childhood cancer from their homes.

Since April 12, the Southern Magnolia Pageant queens have been posting weekly themes for a sidewalk chalk art competition that will continue through May 9.

Posey said she and Hebert had to come up with a new way to raise funds.

“The chalk art contest came about because, due to this stay at home order, our mission was trying to do something fun and family-oriented while still raising money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation,” said Posey. “At the end of March, we were supposed to have many events, such as our fishing tournament and silent auction, and they all got postponed.”

Following the theme, entrants create a unique work of art on their own pavement, then snap a photo to be submitted into the contest, along with a $3 donation to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Photos are to be emailed to Posey and Hebert, who will then post them on the group’s Facebook page. The art should be drawn between Monday and Friday at 5 p.m., and on Saturday the queen of the week will announce the winner.

“We started off with our Junior Miss, Mila Cognevich, from April 12 to 18. The theme she went with was ‘golden ribbon,’ which represents children with cancer,” said Posey. “Our Ms. Queen, Jessica Milam, will be next week. Her title is ‘spring and summer,’ because we want to continue on the path of hope.”

While their travels have been abruptly postponed, the queens of the Southern Magnolia Pageant aren’t letting that get in the way of their goals.

“We definitely want to keep raising awareness of children’s cancer,” said Mallory Dardar, the reigning Miss Southern Magnolia. “We want to get people more involved during this pandemic, to get them outside for some family time. It’s been successful so far.”

Each week, the winner wins a $25 gift card, chosen and purchased by the queens. To enter the contest, each participant must donate $3 through Venmo (@shay-posey) or PayPal (smpageantdirector@gmail.com). Submit photos to southernmagnoliaqueens@gmail.com. More information can be found on the Southern Magnolia Facebook page.

– Submitted by Lora Leigh Luquet, contributing writer to L’OBSERVATEUR.