Veterans Day parade returns to Reserve

Published 7:10 am Wednesday, November 9, 2022

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RESERVE — Coming out of two years of lockdowns from the COVID-19 pandemic, community involvement is treasured more than ever at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home in Reserve.

A combination of drive-by and in-person events are planned to commemorate Veterans Day. The public is invited to jump in line and join the annual Veterans Day Parade at 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10. Vehicles will begin lining up around 1 to 1:30 p.m. along REGALA Park Road between the recreation areas and River Parishes Community College.

The first year the drive-by was held in 2020, approximately 30 cars participated, according to organizer Allan Reynaud, commander of American Legion Post 383 of LaPlace. That number jumped to about 60 in 2021, and Reynaud hopes to see even more participation this year.

Police departments from St. John the Baptist, St. James, St. Charles and Ascension parishes will join in the fun, along with the St. John Parish Fire Department and local government officials.

According to Reynaud, one addition to the parade this year will be red, white and blue throws.

“I know it means a lot to them. It’s got to be daunting to live in a building with the same people all of the time and not go anywhere. They have been so glad to see us, even just driving by,” Reynaud said. “A lot of the men and ladies have been here a while, and they wave and recognize us from volunteering.”

While the Veterans Day celebration was limited to the drive-by the past two years, this time around the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home is welcoming the public to a social immediately following the parade. Veterans and members of the community will be treated to a live jazz band while enjoying coffee and desserts.

The day before the parade, on Wednesday, Nov. 9, local American Legion posts are coming together to host bingo for the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home residents. At least $400 in prizes will be up for grabs, Reynaud said, and the American Legion will also provide residents with cake, ice cream and refreshments from Raising Cane’s for the occasion.

Participating American Legion groups include Post 383 of LaPlace, Post 377 of Kenner, Post 396 of Metairie and Post 267 of Jefferson.

The American Legion remained active supporters of the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home even during the COVID-19 lockdowns. When post members were not able to walk through the doors to support their fellow veterans, they answered the call to deliver truckloads of snacks, soft drinks, and plenty of watermelons whenever supplies ran low.

Sonya Hebert, activities director for the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home, said volunteers are needed to assist with transporting veterans to various activities around the home and pass out lunch trays. Volunteers can make a difference by simply having one-on-one conversations with the veterans to keep them company.

“Different opportunities are available,” she said. “A lot of times, a volunteer will come in and find the thing they like to do such as arts and crafts, and we incorporate that into the veterans’ schedule. Bands are welcome to come in and perform. The veterans love music and dance numbers.”

Hebert looks forward to seeing the veterans’ faces light up on Thursday when they feel the warm embrace of a community that cares for them.
“It gives people an opportunity to come by, shake their hands, and tell them you appreciate what they’ve done. It means a lot when someone takes the time to come here. Even when it’s something that simple and easy, you can see in their faces that it’s a worthwhile thing to do,” Hebert said. “The community is blessed to have this Veteran’s Home, and they come out in full force to support us all the time. Everyone is invited to come by to let the veterans know they are appreciated, they are loved, and they are not forgotten.”

For more information about Thursday’s Veterans Day drive-by parade or volunteer opportunities at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home, contact 985-479-9080.