- Associated Press - Sunday, June 29, 2014

NEW ROADS, La. (AP) - The False River Fourth of July Boat Parade is back on after event organizers feared they would have to cancel it this year.

New Roads Mayor Robert Myer told The Advocate (https://bit.ly/1qL2DVf) the city is stepping in to take over and ensure the tradition continues, although it will be on July 5 this year.

“As mayor of the parish seat, I just couldn’t feel good about letting a 30-year-old event like the False River Boat Parade die without an effort to save it,” Myer said.

The family that has organized the event for the past decade had said they had to give it up because of pressure from the state to obtain liability insurance and provide security patrols for the safety of participants. They said they weren’t prepared to take on those obligations.

Myer said the parade is an important event for New Roads and Pointe Coupee Parish.

For the past 30 years, the False River Boat Parade has attracted hundreds of recreational boaters to the oxbow lake on the holiday weekend to participate in the event’s themed boat-decorating competition and a jovial water-balloon fight.

Members of the Barker family have been the driving force behind the boat parade’s organization over the past decade, after taking over responsibility for it from the event’s founder.

Family members said earlier this month that the event had become too much to handle because of pressure from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to obtain an approved marine event permit, with liability insurance and security.

They family also noted that fewer people were decorating their watercraft for the parade and more were simply anchoring their boats in the middle of the south end of the lake to have a floating party.

Myer said the city intends to carry on the parade’s long-standing tradition of themed boat decorating but with some changes.

This year’s boat parade will sail through New Roads on July 5 instead of on the Fourth of July. The date change allows the city to host the boat parade in conjunction with its annual River Rhythms Fest at Morrison Parkway.

The Morrison Parkway Boat launch will serve as the new setting for the boat parade this year.

Myer said the change will allow spectators attending the live-music festival to watch the parade from the shoreline.

He said the city has contacted the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office for safety and patrol measures and has applied to the state for the marine event permit.

“The city doesn’t expect any additional costs to do this,” Myer said. “The event is still going to be free and open to the public.”

Branden Barker has been appointed by Myer as co-chairman for the event.


Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com



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