July 16 2012 | Latest NewsChange of date could be a good move.
July 12, 2012
Baton Rouge -- A massive military parade to honor Louisiana's 200th year of statehood will be pushed back until Veterans Day weekend to accommodate the schedules of the various branches of the armed forces. Officials had planned the celebration for the first weekend in August, but retired Lt. Gen. Russell HonorÃ© told the Bicentennial Commission on Thursday that the event would have to be pushed back. HonorÃ©, who chairs the commission, said he took full responsibility for the delay because he hadn't given the military enough lead time to work the event into their schedules.
View full sizeFile photoThe Louisiana bicentennial license plate
"It's not the services' fault," HonorÃ© said. "I went to them late, and their schedules had already been set."
The original date would have fallen at a time when many reserve units will be training as well as near the end of the fiscal year, creating logistical problems for some branches, he said. The goal of the event is to bring representatives of all services and include military units, marching bands, vehicles and veterans organizations.
Commission members said holding the event on Saturday, Nov. 10 could bring some advantages for the event. It won't have to compete with White Linen Night (Aug. 4) in the Central Business District, and the New Orleans Saints will be playing host to the Atlanta Falcons the following day, which will bring in out-of-state tourists and national media.
"It helps (New Orleans tourism officials) build a whole weekend," which could help persuade tourists to stay in town for multiple days, commission member Randy Haynie said.
And, of course, there's the obvious tie-in with Veterans Day. The parade is expected to go through the French Quarter and CBD and end at the World War II Museum.
The goal is to stage the largest military parade in New Orleans since Louisiana's centennial in 1912, when a similarly grand display by the armed forces rolled through the city. Up to 3,000 members of the military are expected to participate in the event.
The Bicentennial Commission, which has not received any public money, has raised more than $1.08 million from donations and the sale of merchandise related to the bicentennial and spent about $779,000 so far.