The executive director of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame told members of the Louisiana Bicentennial Commission Thursday that the Old State Capitol needs to be one of the backdrops for the state’s 200th birthday.
Mike Shepherd outlined an April 29 bonanza of gospel music, marching bands and parade floats with the Old State Capitol serving as the setting for at least some of the events.
Shepherd said Bishop Joe Simon could headline the gospel concert while Mardi Gras royalty, festival queens and the state’s music legends could wave to spectators from parade floats.
Several of the state’s best marching bands could add an extra oomph to the celebration, he said.
“(We’re) trying to do a Louisiana-style Mardi Gras parade and a birthday party,” Shepherd said.
Some members of the commission questioned how the new slate of events would be funded.
With events kicking off this fall, the group is less than halfway toward its $1.9 million fundraising goal.
“How are we going to pay for it?” asked lobbyist Randy K. Haynie, the commission’s fundraising chairman.
Shepherd’s idea of a gospel concert and parade would be sandwiched between an already planned April 28 family homecoming event on the State Capitol grounds and birthday cake at the State Capitol on April 30, the actual anniversary of Louisiana becoming a state.
“Three days of events is ambitious, but it only comes around once every 100 years,” said Patrick Mould, a member of the commission’s music and food committees.
In the end, the commission agreed to look at how much it would cost to stage the concert and the parade.
The celebration of Louisiana becoming a state is scheduled to run from Sept. 1, 2011, to Dec. 31, 2012.
To generate money for the statehood commemoration, the commission is seeking money from donors, asking tax filers to donate their refunds and selling merchandise.
• A Mignon Faget exhibit with bicentennial designs beginning Nov. 17 at the State Museum in downtown Baton Rouge.
• A kickoff event late in 2011 at Kent Plantation House in Alexandria.
• A gala in March.
• An August parade in New Orleans.
To celebrate the centennial in 1912, the state held a military parade, hosted dignitaries from other nations and celebrated with a banquet at what was then the Grunewald hotel in New Orleans.