Outgoing Paper Queen enjoyed her time

Published 4:54 am Wednesday, June 27, 2018

This article is written by outgoing Paper Queen, Kelly Dutruch.

My journey has been an amazing one, but like they say, “all good things must come to an end.”

I guess you could say wanting to be the Paper Queen was a childhood dream of mine, having had great-aunts and cousins that have worn the Paper Queen crown — six others to be exact, seven was the lucky number for me. I am blessed to be able to add to our family tradition.

The work put into earning this title was well worth it. The money I raised went to the American Legion Post 24 to help the legion, its members and our veterans. I can say it was definitely challenging to get out and pound the pavement in the heat and rain but in the end it was very rewarding; as military veterans are very near and dear to me. My late father, Brad Dutruch; late grandfather, Tillie Blackwell; and my grandfather, Steve Blackwell; were veterans, so this truly meant a lot to me to be able to wear the crown that represents them and their service to this country.

The year that I reigned as your Paper Queen has been a memorable one — from receiving my crown, to my travels throughout our great state. I am thankful for the memories that I have made and the rhinestone sisterhood that I have become a part of; I will cherish these moments for the rest of my life. Visiting the sugar cane fields in New Iberia for the Sugar Cane Festival was unforgettable. I got to eat sugar cane for the first time, and then move on to having a “Category 5 good time” in Cut Off at the Hurricane Festival, and even got to witness my friend and classmate Kayla MaGee being crowned as the Washington Parish Fair Queen.

I have experienced so many different cultures in our great state that I was not even aware was there until now. I was even able to travel to Morgan City, the hometown of my great grandmother, to participate and support one of my closest rhinestone sisters, Faith Chauvin, at the Bayou Voice for Autism pageant. Tossing meatballs, picking tomatoes, cotton candy eating contest, riding in parades and attending numerous pageants; were all grand experiences and special moments that I will treasure for eternity.

I would have to say that the highlight of my reign was getting to travel to our nation’s capital for the Washington D.C. Mystic Krewe of Louisianans Mardi Gras Ball. I had the opportunity and great pleasure to meet and spend an entire afternoon with our district’s U.S. Congressman, Ralph Abraham. We spent time talking about our state, eating king cake and taking a few “selfies.”

The tours of the Lincoln, Vietnam and Korean memorials were very humbling experiences, and the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier will be forever etched in my heart and mind. This experience was such a great time — from the Royal Luncheon at The Sulgrave, which is one of the most exclusive private ladies club in Washington, to the Louisiana Live Festivities where I was able to indulge in a variety of our state’s food and music. The Ball was absolutely the most perfect ending to an incredible week as I was presented before some of Louisiana and Washington’s highest dignitaries. These moments will be in my heart forever to share for many generations to come.

I cannot end this without saying thank you to my family for supporting and encouraging me; turning this dream into a reality. They have been my foundation throughout my reign and I am forever grateful to them and for them. And also many thanks to the Bogalusa American Legion Post 24 for allowing me to represent and honor our veterans in such a way I hope I made them proud.

I would like to congratulate the 78th Bogalusa Paper Queen, Abby Fornea — may your reign be ever memorable and your rhinestone dreams come true.

Forever yours,

77th Paper Queen Kelly Michelle Dutruch