A year in the life of a queen

Published 12:14 am Sunday, June 30, 2013

2012 Paper Queen Kelsey Knight will relinquish her crown on Tuesday when her year-long reign ends with the crowning of the 2013 queen, Caitlyn Augustine, at the 74th Paper Queen Ball.

During her reign, Knight has traveled throughout the state attending festivals and other events every weekend during the entire year, always accompanied by her mom, Michelle Knight.

Knight said she enjoyed all of the events and seeing so much of Louisiana, but most of all, she said, she enjoyed making so many new friends.

“I have made some very special friendships that will stay with me throughout my lifetime,” she said.

Read the farewell address (sidebar at right) Knight will deliver on Tuesday evening, and below see some of the hundreds of photos she and her mom took commemorating her royal year.

Kelsey’s Farewell

Remembering my incredible year as Paper Queen

There is a saying, “Once a queen, always a queen.” And that is exactly how I feel tonight.

Hello, I am Kelsey Knight, and I have enjoyed being your 2012 Paper Queen. One year ago I had no idea that being the Bogalusa Paper Queen was such an awesome honor. Although it took hard work, as well as family and friends helping me, this has been a time in my life that I will remember forever. Being the Bogalusa Paper Queen has provided me with the opportunity to travel throughout the state of Louisiana and to meet many interesting and unique people.

I have had the pleasure of attending more than 35 pageants, festivals and fairs. I enjoyed stuffing my face with kumquats at the Orange Festival in Plaquemines. I picked strawberries in Ponchatoula, and raced crawfish at the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival.  In Washington Parish we run from alligators, but at the Louisiana Gumbo Festival I had to hold one. Indeed, I have always heard that there are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet. That certainly came true for me this year.

I have made some very special friendships that will stay with me throughout my lifetime.  Stephanie, the color of orange always looks fabulous on you. Even though your door decorations in Washington, D.C., were prettier than mine, I still fit more kumquats in my mouth than you did. I will never forget all the fun we had together going to the different festivals.  

Mirror, mirror on the wall… Jackie, I’m talking about you! Even though we always had to hurry to keep from being late, you always looked good when we got there.

Fallon, I was nervous about what my roommate would be like, but after meeting you, I realized that there was nothing to be worried about. Remember when your dad had to run down the guys who were trying to steal our door decorations? We had a great time together.  

Rachel, even though other people thought that we didn’t like each other because we were always teasing each other, we really are very good, close friends. You can’t always believe what you see in pictures! I am going to miss all our fun.

Karlie, you were the very first one at my crowning, and you were the one who held my extensions for me. I knew from the start that we would become good friends.

I could say many more things about each one of you, and tell all your secrets, but we would be here all night. So, to all my Rhinestone Sisters, you were the strangers who I now call my friends. I have had a lot of fun with each of you this year as we shared our reigns together. This may be my farewell as Paper Queen, but not our goodbye as friends.

I would like to thank Bogalusa Magic City American Legion Post 24 for giving me the opportunity to represent them throughout the state as their Paper Queen. In particular, I thank the Legion for giving me the opportunity to attend the Washington, D.C., Mardi Gras Ball. I will always remember this trip and the friendships made.

Our trip began with all the Louisiana Queens meeting on Thursday morning at the Governor’s Mansion in Baton Rouge for a tea in our honor, hosted by the Governor and Mrs. Jindal. After the tea we were escorted to the Baton Rouge airport to board a charter flight to Washington.

Upon arriving at the D.C. airport, our plane was met by two tour buses, one for the queens and one for the chaperones and family members. Our chaperones and family were kept as busy as we were. Every minute of our day and night had been planned with events. We had three days of fun and adventures as we toured national monuments and other historic sites.

The most humbling event was witnessing the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We met with Sen. Steve Scalise and Sen. Mary Landrieu. Sen. Landrieu hosted a social for the queens at her D.C. residence.

The Mardi Gras Ball —what can I say! It was spectacular, a site to behold. All the men were dressed in tuxedos and the ladies in their formal, sparkling gowns. Each queen was escorted to the middle of the ballroom and presented by their duke. Imagine my surprise when I learned that my duke was Dr. Chuck Nasseau of Bogalusa. Early Sunday morning, after an all-night party, we loaded onto the buses and were taken to the airport for our return trip home. None of us remember the trip home because we were all sleeping.

I cannot say goodbye until I have said thank you. First of all, thank you, Mama. Thank you for being my personal assistant for the past year. You always made sure that I looked my best, that my crown was straight, and that I had plenty of pictures of each event. Even though we butted heads (and yours is very hard), I am glad I had you with me every step of the way to encourage me to make friends and have fun because it all too quickly came to an end.  

Dad, I am sure you are glad that today is finally here! Thanks for letting me have Mom every weekend and for opening your wallet. I appreciate all you did to make this happen for me. Even though my reign as queen ends tonight, it does not mean that you can stop treating me like one.

To the members of the American Legion Post 24 and the Ladies Auxiliary, thank you for the opportunity to represent Bogalusa at the Washington D.C. Mardi Gras Ball and throughout the state. The Ball was the most memorable highlight of my reign. I will never forget how great everyone was to help me.  

As the minutes of my reign draw to an end, it is my hope that my successor, Caitlyn Augustine, will have as much fun and meet as many wonderful people as I did while visiting the different pageants, fairs and festivals throughout our state.

Caitlyn, I wish the best to you during your reign. When you take this crown, walk, don’t run, because all too soon your reign will end like mine does tonight.  

Tonight I join the 72 previous paper queens and make my final walk. So, as I say good-bye, I am Kelsey Knight, your 2012 Bogalusa Paper Queen.