The Daily Review/Bill Decker
Tony Bernard unveils the poster he created for the 2017 Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival at Thursday's Bayou BBQ Bash kickoff party.

Bernard poster selected for Shrimp and Petroleum Festival

Tony Bernard’s work will once more tell the world about the 2017 Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival.

This time, the oil industry is a hero in the story. So is America.

Bernard’s poster, the Lafayette artist’s third for the Shrimp and Petroleum Festival, was unveiled Thursday night at Hampton Inn & Suites in Morgan City during the kickoff party for this weekend’s Bayou BBQ Bash.

Bernard’s acrylic original and the prints fashioned from it feature an oil derrick prominently, front and center. He wanted to acknowledge an industry that has been struggling for the last few years.

“People that I know that own businesses have been affected by the oil industry,” Bernard said after the unveiling. “I feel that if the oil industry picks up, it benefits everyone — the shrimpers, the mom and pop clothing stores. … So I wanted to put the focus on the oil industry.”

The poster has another focus, too — not as central, but equally prominent. It’s an American flag-based design that serves as a wide border. Bernard choked up a little when he talked about his thinking.

“I just feel like I wanted to be a proud American,” he said. “I wanted to put the flag in and add my flavor to the flag, with the little movement of the designs in it. I just feel it needed that, to show we love America, and the industry of the oilfield needs pick up.”

The Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival will be back for 2017 on Labor Day weekend, with the rides, the food, the live music, the blessing of the fleet and more.

Director Darby Ratcliff’s job is to implement the festival plans. When it comes to the weather, Ratcliff can only hope.

“Hopefully it’ll be dry and hot, if we can control the weather,” Ratcliff said.

The beginning of the festival will mark the end of the reign of Jeanne Marie Hidalgo as Shrimp and Petroleum Festival Queen. King Ray Autrey and Hidalgo were the 2016 festival’s royalty. Her duty has been to promote the festival at other events around the state, and at the Washington, D.C., Mardi Gras.

“I’ve been to the ends of Louisiana and the tip of the boot,” Hidalgo said Thursday. “I’ve been everywhere, and it’s been so awesome just to promote our festival at the other festivals around the state.

‘To be able to have this experience and get to go through the year — I didn’t realize how greatly I’d appreciate it until now, a whole year later.”
Hidalgo, a Berwick High graduate and LSU student, had some advice for the 2017 queen:

“Do everything. You only have a year to do it. Of course, the girls are usually in college as well, so it’s kind of difficult with school and traveling around. But it’s a one-time experience. Take everything in and go do as much as you can.”

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