Rotary Club welcomes 73rd Paper Queen

Published 10:47 pm Thursday, July 5, 2012

On Tuesday at the regular meeting of the Bogalusa Rotary Club, the 73rd Paper Queen, Kelsie Knight, was welcomed, as well as the outgoing queen, Karlie Wheat. In addition, queens of numerous pageants across the state were also in attendance in support of Knight, who was crowned Tuesday night at the Paper Queen Ball, held each year at the American Legion Post No. 24 Veterans Memorial Hall.

Former queen Cindy Melancon gave a brief history of the Paper Queen contest, noting that it began in 1939 and “has continued every year except one, and that was because of the war.”

“They (the queens) travel across the state, representing not only the American Legion Post No. 24, but also the city of Bogalusa and our paper industry,” she said. “It’s the second oldest festival in Louisiana to attend the ball in Washington, D.C.”

Continuing, Melancon said, “I can tell you, from my point of view, it’s an exciting time. It’s definitely a learning experience for young ladies.”

The traveling and the speaking required of a Paper Queen helps the young ladies to gain confidence in themselves. “It gives them a sense of confidence that they can go out in the world, meet people that they have no connection with, and make an instant connection with them. But they learn how to communicate in our vast world and it’s a wonderful thing. They make great friends that they have for years to come. It’s a friendship that they have for a lifetime.”

With seven queens from other portions of the state and two Paper Queens, past and present, in attendance, Melancon said, “Crowns are not something in short demand,” to the laughter of all present. And what many people don’t know, she said, is that wearing a crown is hard on a person’s head and they can give the wearer a headache. “It’ll make a ridge in your head,” she quipped.

With that, each of the queens introduced herself and spoke briefly about her festival. At the end of the meeting, the girls were all checking their crowns, when Rotary member Larry Miller found a single “diamond” on the floor. Hopefully, the rightful owner was found.