Fans of Pierre C. Shadeaux, a nutria referred to as the Cajun Groundhog, turned out Tuesday at Bouligny Plaza in downtown New Iberia for the New Iberia Cajun Groundhog Day ceremony.
The event was led by Grand Marshal David Feldman, and New Iberia Mayor Hilda Curry issued a proclamation to mark the occasion.
Pierre did not see his shadow, which predicts our region will have an early and longer spring and milder summer. Had he seen his shadow, the prediction would have foretold an early, hot summer season. Pierre is one of two 3- to 4-week-old nutrias at Zoosiana — The Zoo of Acadiana.
He and his brother — they are called Boudreaux and Thibodeaux — can be seen up close during the “Zoo Live” show.
Pierre’s prediction matched that of his fellow forecaster and Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, who failed to see his shadow at dawn Tuesday, meaning he “predicted” an early spring.
“Is this current warm weather more than a trend? Per chance this winter has come to an end? There is no shadow to be cast, an early spring is my forecast!” read Jeff Lundy, vice president of the Inner Circle of The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.
A German legend has it that if a furry rodent sees his shadow on Feb. 2, winter will last another six weeks. If not, spring comes early.
Other furry rodents sided with Pierre and Phil on the extended forecast.
The handlers for Staten Island Chuck in New York, General Beauregard Lee in Georgia and Jimmy the Groundhog in Wisconsin said their rodents, too, predicted an early spring.
In Michigan, handlers of Woody the Woodchuck said she predicted six more weeks of winter.
And in Canada, two four-legged forecasters split the decision. Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam called for an early spring, while Ontario’s Wiarton Willie expected six more weeks of winter.