If you’re the Bayou Teche Bear Festival Queen, sometimes you trade your sash for a life jacket--after all, the home base for your festival is a rich, ecologically diverse Bayou. Heather Lynn Phillips, the current queen, is seen here on the Bayou with an agent of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The college sophomore has spent her reign traveling to other towns and parishes to talk about the threatened species, including educating children on the do’s and don’ts of interacting with a bear in the wild.
One event from her festival weekend is the Oyster Eating contest (shown here, middle and bottom), which Heather makes look blissfully easy, but proved a challenge for a Queen Mom who tried hard to be a good sport. (Note, at very near right, the clown who competed still wearing his make-up!) Heather was joined by visiting Teen and Miss Queens from the Farm Bureau, Cajun Hot Sauce, and Cypress Swamp festivals for the events held in beautiful Franklin, known for its cypress tupelo swamps, live oaks, and antebellum architecture.