Louisiana Prepares for Fiesta 2000

Millennium celebration hopes to attract tourists from around the world

Louisiana is getting ready to party big. The state is getting ready for a millennium celebration, which promises to be the largest event in the state’s history.

The party is being called "Fiesta 2000" and will take place in St. Bernard on March 18-19. Sponsors say exhibitors from all over the world are headed to Louisiana for the once in a millennium party. In fact, a large contingent from the Canary Islands will be in attendance.

If you head south for the event expect to eat, a lot. Chefs will circle the Fiesta cooking up their favorite meals and showing off the unique cooking of the St. Bernard communities. Southern cooking at it’s very best is expected to surround the party and keep show tourists a little southern hospitality.

Fiesta 2000 will show off several new exhibits including the Coconut Island Bar, the Estopinal House, and its detached kitchen. The mud- and moss- insulated Estopinal house is a unique example of how settlers on the deep delta were able to adapt to their environment and use native materials such as Spanish moss and the clay-mud mixed with river sand to create a tight, energy-efficient home. Since the outside of the building is usually covered in weather boards or with stucco, the viewer is unaware of the mud and moss insulation.

St. Bernard is an area filled with history which tourists will find quite interesting. St. Bernard Parish is the site of the Battle of New Orleans. Tours will be offered of the Chalmette Battlefield and the Ducros/Islendo museum complex. There is also the former Villere Plantation(at Murphy Oil), and the ruins of Versailles(the De La Ronde House). Tourists can also get a sobering look at the St. Bernard Catholic Cemetery, where the graves of several of St. Bernard’s first citizens are located. The grave of Marie Laurie Villere, the first wife of Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard can be found there. It is also a chance to look at unusual cemetery architecture because the graves are above ground and multiple burials are in one plot.

The Fiesta will also take a look back in history by having a number of re-enactors on hand representing the various important epochs in the history of St. Bernard Parish will give the public a look at the area's rural culture.

Source: The Times-Picayune

DATE: 2/1/2000

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