Traditional Blessing of the Boats also honors veterans

NEW ROADS, LA (WAFB) - The annual Blessing of the Boats on False River is a long standing tradition that lives on, but the event also continues to incorporate tributes to the nation's current and former veterans.

Deacon Bob McDonner of Immaculate Conception blessed dozens of boats and paddle boarders on the river Sunday as part of the annual New Roads Blessing of the Boats ceremony. The event also included a salute to veterans. Boaters like Brandon Chapman, a lifelong New Roads resident, said it is a unique way to honor those who have served our country.

"Memorial Day is special for two reasons," Chapman said. "One, obviously, is blessing our veterans and all those who served our country and then, as many boats as you see here out today, it's a big plus to bless everyone out here and kind of protect our safety out on the water."

Many in the New Roads area said the Blessing of the Boats on False River also represents a tradition more than 25 years in the making.

"That community spirit, coming together, you have boats from not only our community, you have people here from Baton Rouge area, Lafayette, all the surrounding areas that come together for this rich tradition in New Roads and we're proud of it," said Mayor Robert Myer.

The pride was felt by an entire community, as it gathered to pay respect to the area's veterans.

"Many of the veterans here from New Roads have actually served our country and to get to see them out here, as well as some of the veterans on the land that represented us, it's just strong to see them out here and be a part of it together," added Chapman.

The ceremony was hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Pointe Coupee Parish.

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