Thousands expected in Livingston Parish for Tickfaw 200

LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Those of you in the southern part of Livingston Parish may want to top your gas tanks before this weekend. Hundreds of boaters are expected there this week for the Tickfaw 200, and that means many gas stations will run out of fuel.

The powerboat poker run will also be an economic boost for the Livingston Parish.

It won't necessarily be a calm ride on the water for some there this week, May 3 and 4 will be all about speed.

The Tickfaw 200 is Louisiana's largest powerboat poker run. It's expected to bring some speedy, million dollar boats from all over the United States.

"Large groups from Texas, New York, Chicago, Alabama," said Eric Edwards, the Executive Director of Livingston's Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Edwards is expecting 7,000 people this weekend. They'll either be watching or taking part in the poker run. The Tickfaw 200 was started years ago, by a colorful character known as Crazy Charlie.

He says each team brings several people. It's like NASCAR, Edwards says. There are people who come to ride in the boats and those who come to make sure the boats are performing well. Edwards says they all spend money in the parish.

"All the hotels in Tangipahoa, southern part of Livingston are filled, they've been filled. Carter's Plantation has been sold out," Edwards said.

The poker run takes boaters 200 nautical miles; starting from the Blood River Marina in Springfield then on to New Orleans, Madisonville, Slidell and Tangipahoa Parish.

Jimmy Babin, the owner of Creative Cajun Cooking in St. Amant, is in charge of keeping everyone fed this weekend. And he's already working on his menu.

"Friday and Saturday it's like get out of my way," Babin said.

Babin's strong suit is cooking for big groups. Tuesday he was in Baton Rouge, working on a big batch of jambalaya, red beans and 1,600 pounds of crawfish to feed 400 people.

This weekend, he'll have to feed thousands. But he says he's done that before. "The christening of the USS Louisiana Nuclear Submarine in Connecticut - cooked for 2,500," he said. "I did Ground Zero at day 40 in New York City; 7,000 plates in three days."

Babin says he's thought about slowing down, but seeing all the boats on the river this weekend is a sight he can't miss.

And for Livingston Parish, it's a chance to remind all those who come about the beauty that's here and remind them, to come back.

All the money that is raised from the poker run goes to the Marine Division of the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office. While there are cash prizes, Edwards says the real prize is bragging rights. For whose boat looks the best and whose boat goes the fastest.

For more information on the Tickfaw 200, go to

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