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Clear skies, warm sunshine, and the historic Courthouse Square provided the perfect backdrop for the October 2022 celebration of 200 years of Terrebonne Parish in Houma, Louisiana.
Throughout the year, residents and visitors were treated to events centered around specific themes relevant to Terrebonne Parish. It was clear that everyone was most excited to attend the festival and parade; however, the year-long celebration was filled with several thought-provoking presentations that reminded guests just how far Terrebonne Parish has come and what we can do to continue progressing in the future.
The first few presentations, held at the recently renamed Barry P. Bonvillain Civic Center and the Terrebonne Parish Main Library, focused on business, transportation, military/law enforcement, environment, education, and government. Complete with trivia games, video presentations, Q&A sessions, and more, each presentation offered an intimate look into the Parish’s past with the help of current and former residents, professionals from various industries, and knowledgeable historians.
Additional presentations before the festival focused on construction, culture, and architecture. They included interactive elements such as music and art exhibits, a Native American Smudging Ceremony, and a meet and greet with the descendants of Frederick Douglass and Thomas Jefferson. The architecture presentation highlighted the newly constructed Houma Courthouse Square Bandstand, which was completed just in time to host its first concert at the bicentennial celebration.
The pièce de resistance was the bicentennial festival and parade. Held on Saturday, October 15, 2022, the parade rolled through Downtown Houma beginning at Barrow Street and ending in front of the Courthouse Square. Old-fashioned cars, the Parish’s first fire truck, the Terrebonne Genealogical Society, and many others paraded down the street waving and throwing special bicentennial throws to onlookers in celebration of the Parish’s 200th year.
The festival featured interactive murals, historical demonstrations, food, musical performances, local vendors, a contest to see how quickly kids can successfully make a call from a desktop rotary phone, and a crawfish pie eating contest. The final presentation was the dedication and burial of a time capsule filled with items that represent Terrebonne Parish and all that its residents have accomplished and endured over the years. The time capsule was placed in the Courthouse Square adjacent to the time capsule from the Sesquicentennial and both are to be opened in 2122.
The final presentations, which focused on sports, seafood, and entertainment, were held from October to December 2022. The Bicentennial Celebration culminated with a twelve-act play performed by members from various ensembles from around the Parish.
A celebration two hundred years in the making went off without a hitch despite the planning delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Ida. The bicentennial celebration united people in a way that only the spirit of southern hospitality can. New residents and long-time locals showed up to connect with neighbors and friends, support the community’s entrepreneurs, and celebrate the history of Terrebonne Parish.
The events of this past year all served a purpose. Some presentations were to explain or inform. Some were to entertain. Some even served as an opportunity to problem solve. Undoubtedly, the key purpose for each event was to inspire.
Just as today’s leaders serve the Parish using the foundation laid by its early leaders, the Terrebonne Parish Bicentennial Celebration was an opportunity to inspire future leaders to make relationships and decisions that will positively impact Terrebonne Parish for the next two hundred years. Parish President Gordon E. Dove says of this year, “On behalf of all of us here at TPCG, I’d like to thank you for celebrating the rich and vibrant history of Terrebonne Parish during this bicentennial year. I’d also like to challenge each of you to help steer Terrebonne Parish toward its bright future. Here’s to the next 200 years!”