Drama surrounded the Gonzales Christmas Parade this weekend as rumors spread over social media that the 80-entry event was canceled and wouldn't happen on Sunday. But organizers want the public to know the parade will roll as planned, thank you very much.
Parade director Brigitte Reulet took to Facebook in the early hours of Saturday morning after a community Facebook Page, “Gonzales, Louisiana: Information” deleted their Christmas parade event, leading some to believe the event had been canceled.
That page, which has 12,000 "likes," is not run by the city or any official entity, Reulet said, and the confusion sown by the parade's omission has left her frustrated.
“I’ve posted and tagged people on it, told them to share it, a lot of people are mad at me because they think I’m too harsh but we’ve been working on this for months and for someone to throw a monkey wrench in it 24 hours before is frustrating,” she said.
The moderators of the Gonzales, Louisiana: Information page didn’t respond to a request for comment, but their page as of Saturday afternoon makes no mention of the Christmas parade, nor the confusion and hubbub among residents.
Most of the back-and-forth chatter about the parade took place on the “Gonzales Jambalaya Festival” Facebook page — the entity that has run the city’s Christmas parade for the last decade since taking over from the Chamber of Commerce.
Several residents said they felt the parade's directors were rude in discussing the social media confusion, with some calling their comment responses a “nasty bite,” “very unbecoming” and recommending that they just “chill out.”
Reulet said that, in addition to social media causing confusion, the weather-related cancellation of other area Christmas parades scheduled for Saturday added fuel to the flame.
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“It’s not meant to rain (Sunday), it’ll just be a little cold but that’s the nature of Christmas parades,” she said, adding that many community members assumed the Gonzales parade would be canceled, too.
“We would never just cancel it on Facebook, we have about 80 entries and if we were going to cancel it, we’d call them all and make sure they knew.”
Jambalaya Festival Association vice president Tammy Guillory posted a comment apologizing for the confusion around what’s meant to be a happy family event.
“This year’s parade has been a fiasco since day one of the route being changed … then with the weather today and Baton Rouge and other towns (having) canceled their parades today, I guess everyone thought ours would be canceled also. Well it’s not,” Guillory wrote.
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The parade now will begin at the intersection of Irma Boulevard and Cornerview, travel west to Burnside, and will turn left and travel to the East Bank Shopping Center at Highway 30, where it ends. In past years, it’s traveled the opposite direction, Reulet said, but it will remain the same distance as years prior at 1.9 miles.
The parade will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday, unless organizers are directed otherwise by the Gonzales Police Department, who control traffic and safety for the event. Any changes in the event will be posted on the Gonzalez Jambalaya Festival Facebook page.