Updated: Feb 23, 2022
Did you know that Louisiana has over 400 festivals a year? With a new year upon us comes a new season of Louisiana festivals! Something in particular, that makes these festivals extra special is the naming and crowning of a queen who essentially represents a particular festival for that year. The process of choosing a queen begins months before the actually festival and crowning, and it can be an overwhelmingly emotional event.
Over the years, I have been photographing many of these festivals, and I often see the queens walking around during the festivals. However, It wasn’t until this year that I witnessed my first queen’s pageant and crowning, and it happened to be my friend, Kathryn.
Kathryn and I are both photographers in the same area and we both share the hobby of festival-going. With so much in common, we became friends over Instagram and one day she invited me to watch her compete in a queen’s pageant. Several months before the festival took place, I remember seeing Kathryn’s social media posts about her dreams and goals of winning this title of queen for the 81st International Rice Festival. As the day of the crowning arrived, all of these ideas finally came in to reality, and I began to understand the importance of winning for her.
What a breathtaking and emotional experience it was to watch my friend get crowned queen! The crowning ceremony began with a speech from the out-going pageant queen about her life long memories she had the previous year throughout festival events, friendships with other queens, and many other unbelievable experiences. Following her speech, myself and the audience were introduced to all of the girls who were interviewed for the queen’s title. I was impressed with their passion for the festival and winning the title of queen, their endless support for one another, and their personal stories and backgrounds. I felt inspired, and I must admit my heart went out to these girls!
I cannot even begin to imagine myself standing up on that stage in front of everyone, answering interview questions and making sure I remember to smile the entire time. Let’s just say I prefer to work behind the scenes, or should I say the lens….
Congratulations to Kathryn Shea Duncan on her title of our 81st International Rice Festival Queen