Locals celebrate Independence Day in Houma

People gathered to celebrate independence this past Saturday over fireworks and music.

The Terrebonne Patriots Inc. held its 11th annual Independence Day celebration at the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center. The event was complete with live bands, food venders, Army Recruiters with virtual reality machines, a wreath ceremony, and, of course, a live fireworks show.

“It’s a reminder,” said Sgt. First Class Samuel Acevedo, an Army recruiter on site. “It gets you back into the days where we were triumphant over a tyrant.”

In 1776 the United States, then only 13 colonies, legally separated from Great Britain on July the second. America typically celebrates this on the 4th of July, when Congress finally approved the Declaration of Independence.

The Terrebonne Patriots Inc. formed 11 years ago tasked with taking charge of the Independence Day celebration as a way of honoring veterans. Danny Picou, the president of the organization, said since then the celebration has only grown.

From its humble origins as a parade, the Tererbonne Patriots eventually moved the event to the civic center grounds to escape the heat. The overhang stretching out from the front entrance provided shade for live bands such as Tet Dur and The Cane Breakers to perform for a dancing audience. According to Picou, last year the event had 3-to-5,000 in attendence, and this year he expected about the same amount.

Enjoying the music nearby was Harris Guidry of Chauvin. Guidry is a veteran who served in the 58th Aviation Division of the Army during the Vietnam War. Most of the people he served with were from other states which makes it difficult to spend time with them. He enjoyed this event because he was able to be with other local veterans – and of course the swamp pop music.

“Most of the people I served with were all from out of state,” he said. “I’ve gone to a few of them every once in a while to keep in contact, but it’s far apart. We don’t get to see each other anymore.”

With the more stationary venue, other local venders and organizations were able to set up.

The Street Survivors biker club, for example, was holding a raffle to raise money for the Terrebonne Patriots and The Children’s Advocacy Center of Lafourche. The club was also promoting an upcoming fundraiser for an injured motorcyclist, and their efforts to gather supplies for needy families during Christmas. 

The Army had brought in a bus which housed a number of virtual reality simulators. These simulated sky diving, helicopter piloting, and humvee driving. There were also displays of weapons, and equipment used by soldiers, with two mannequins fondly nicknamed “Ranger Rick,” and “Scuba Steve,” by the recruiters.

TJ Harris and his son Cameron Harris jumped inside the Humvee simulator and drove around for a bit. While Cameron was somewhat shy, he said it was like a video game.

“It was pretty cool,” said TJ Harris. “It was a good experience for him.” •