Louisiana Tournoi Queen LXIII Winter Alexis Duhon
“I have learned more about our state [from the time] I first became a queen in 2008 up until now than I have ever learned in a classroom,” declares outgoing Louisiana Tournoi Queen LXIII Winter Alexis Duhon. She continues, “This first-hand experience of traveling throughout Louisiana has taught me to be more aware of how fairs and festivals are the backbone of our towns and cities. Without these organizations, much of our rich history would be lost to future generations.”
As Tournoi Queen, Duhon was able to experience many new towns and cities throughout Louisiana during her travels to other festivals and pageants, including the Strawberry Ball in Ponchatoula, the Meat Pie Pageant in Natchitoches, the Cajun Music Pageant and Festival in Lake Charles and the Fur and Wildlife Pageant in Cameron. “One of the highlights of my reign,” Duhon says, “was participating in the 2012 Louisiana Association of Fairs and Festivals Queen of Queens Pageant. I had an awesome weekend there with the many friends that I have made throughout my different reigns. The cherry on top of this weekend was placing first runner-up out of 83 girls in the pageant.”
Duhon has previously held the titles of 2008 Miss Celtic Nations in Lake Charles and 2010 Miss Louisiana Mardi Gras in Lafayette. She admits, however, that “[being] Louisiana Tournoi Queen has been a unique experience, since the title represents a tradition that is deeply rooted in the history of Ville Platte.”
Duhon, the 22-year-old daughter of Glenn and Monica Duhon of Moss Bluff and granddaughter of Oscar and Peggy Reyes of Cameron and the late Edwin and Cecile Duhon, is currently a senior at McNeese State University, where she is pursuing a degree in mass communication with a minor in communication. Upon graduating in May 2013, she plans to find a job with a local news station. She is active on campus as a recent alumni of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority and member of the Student Union Board. Her hobbies include reading and traveling to new places.
To her successor, Duhon says, “A good queen is involved and travels our state doing as much as she can to promote her festival or organization. Do your best to represent the Louisiana Tournoi Association as you travel across Louisiana. Be able to explain what the Tournoi is and don’t be surprised if people ask you how to pronounce or spell it. I have found out that not many people know about the Tournoi if they are not from around the Evangeline Parish area.”
Before crowning her successor, Duhon says, “I would like to thank my friends, family and the Louisiana Tournoi Association for all of their support throughout my year as Louisiana Tournoi Queen.”
Teen Tournoi Queen
Shay Michelle Moreau
“Being the 2011-2012 Louisiana Tournoi Teen Queen has given me the opportunity to experience all the culture of Louisiana. There are so many festivals around the state that are truly amazing to see,” says outgoing Teen Tournoi Queen Shay Michelle Moreau. She adds, “This experience has also given me the chance to meet so many people that have become a major part of my life.”
Moreau, the 17-year-old daughter of Nicholas and Pamela Moreau of Eunice, and granddaughter of Alice Fontenot, the late James “Fox” Fontenot and Liz and Merlin Moreau, is currently a senior at St. Edmund High School in Eunice, where she enjoys cheerleading and spending time with her family and friends. She is a member of the National Honor Society and the campus ministry. After graduation, Moreau plans to attend LSU beginning with the Fall 2013 semester to major in microbiology and then pursue medical school.
For the first-time title holder, Moreau says the most special part of her reign was experiencing the Cotton Festival with her grandfather, the late James “Fox” Fontenot, who was Colonel Cotton at last year’s festival. She shares, “It was really special to me to go through this with him.” Another favorite event attended by Moreau was the Breast Cancer Awareness Pageant. She says, “It was amazing to see so many people in one place for a great cause. They were all there supporting people they knew that either had breast cancer or have it. It was touching to hear different women’s stories and how they handled the illness. These women were truly strong and inspired me.”
“To be a good festival queen,” Moreau says, “takes dedication and heart.” She continues, “One can not be a queen of something and not love what she represents. When queens visit places, people love to ask questions, such as what is your festival all about. I personally loved enlightening people all around Louisiana about the Tournoi, especially because most people had no idea what it was.” She also shares the following advice with her successor, “This year will fly by faster than you can blink an eye. It feels as though last night the flowers were placed in my lap and the crown on my head. Wear your crown and banner with pride and represent the festival well. Make sure to attend as many events as you can. Do not take one day of your reign for granted, for it will always have a special place in your heart and memories.”
Through her reign, Moreau has learned a valuable lesson, noting, “I’ve learned how important it is to better yourself everyday. It’s up to our generation to keep spreading these traditions all around Louisiana and make sure that they are not forgotten. These very festivals are what make the culture of Louisiana so special.”
Moreau has many thanks to those who allowed her to have such an amazing year and experience, saying, “I would love to thank the Louisiana Tournoi Association for making this year possible for me. This festival is amazing and special. I was so honored to represent it this past year. I’d also love to thank my directors for making things run smoothly for us queens! We really appreciate it! Thank you to all of my friends and family who have supported me this past year! I love you all!”
Junior Tournoi Queen
Leah Marie Fontenot
For first-time royal Leah Marie Fontenot, being crowned Junior Tournoi Queen last year has helped her to come out of her shell. She says, “I learned that I am more shy than I thought and I learned to be happier and louder.” She also learned a lot about the pageant and the history and culture of the unique Tournoi event in Ville Platte.
Fontenot, the daughter of Kirk and Anita Fontenot and granddaughter of Jean Fontenot, Shirley Collier and Paul Glaven Fontenot, is a student at Sacred Heart High School and plans to attend college to pursue a degree in computer technology, English and teaching, with the goal of becoming an English teacher one day.
Being Junior Tournoi Queen has afforded Fontenot the opportunity to travel to many places around the State of Louisiana and meet many new people. She enjoyed spending time with her friends and making new friends throughout her reign and recalls an experience at the Boggy Bayou Festival with Evangeline Parish Farm Bureau Queen Kaitlyn LeJeune, saying, “Some guy gave me and Kaitlyn some Russian money. It was really cool.”
To her successor, Fontenot says, “You have to be very upbeat and you cannot be shy.” She adds, “Always remember to bring an extra of everything [when traveling] and remember how important you are as Junior Tournoi Queen.”
As with any festival queen, Fontenot had a wonderful support system around her throughout this past year of travel and fun experiences, and Fontenot would like to thank her parents, her sisters, her granny and maw-maw, Sadie and Sarah Buller, Kaitlyn Thille, Kelli Buller, Dalayne Veillon, Amanda Thille, her sister Tournoi queens Shay and Winter and especially the Tournoi Association for all of their support throughout her reign.