BATON ROUGE, La. – A teacher of the year, a volunteer, and an honored sheriff’s deputy are among those Louisianans selected to ride on the state’s first ever float in the 133rd Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, on New Year’s Day 2022.This year’s parade theme was Dream. Believe. Achieve. “It’s such an honor to have each one of these ambassadors, who represent all Louisianans, ride the Louisiana Tourism ‘Feed Your Soul’ float. For instance, the teacher represents all Louisiana teachers and the volunteer represents all Louisiana volunteers. We are proud of and grateful for each and every one of them,” said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. Here is the list of riders:
* Ashini Modi, who just turned 17, represents the many Louisiana volunteers who willingly help make life better for their fellow Louisianans. Modi provides underprivileged youth with educational opportunities at her local homeless shelter, starting a 1,500 book library called the “Reading Rainforest” at the Providence House shelter in Shreveport.* Representing all Louisiana volunteers who come to the rescue of tens of thousands of Louisianans who are victims of natural disasters such as Hurricane Laura in 2020 and Hurricane Ida in 2021 is United Cajun Navy Founder and President Todd Terrell. * St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Dylan Crawford represents Louisiana’s law enforcement community and first responders. Deputy Crawford is the recipient of the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association 2021 Deputy Valor Award for his heroic efforts in rescuing three people from drowning. * Thibodaux Regional Medical Center’s Dr. Brian Parker represents Louisiana’s medical professionals, especially those who heroically cared for patients throughout the pandemic and during natural disasters such as Hurricane Ida. As medical director of the critical care unit for Thibodaux Regional Health System, Dr. Parker is a leader in caring for COVID-19 patients utilizing the latest treatments. On August 29, 2021, as Hurricane Ida made landfall the hospital’s critical care unit lost power. Dr. Parker led the efforts to transfer the unit’s critically ill patients from the third floor of the hospital to another unit on the first floor. * Jefferson Parish 2022 Middle School Teacher of the Year Kara Bailey Leere presents educators in Louisiana. Lee’s students have shown academic growth on the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) tests and benchmark tests. Her passion to meet the diverse needs of students provides the foundation for an environment that encourages students to reach their full potential. * Alyssa Carson, an aspiring astronaut who has attended multiple space camps and is training with hopes of being selected for a future spaceflight to Mars, represents all those Louisianans who dare to dream and reach for the stars. Alyssa has her rocket license, Advance scuba certification, pilot license, skydiving class A license and she is a certified aquanaut. * Miss Louisiana 2021 Julia Claire Williams and 2021 Miss Louisiana USA Tanya Crowe are riding as role models for young women everywhere to achieve their dreams from education to public service. “When I pitched the idea to have a Louisiana Tourism float in the Rose Parade, I told parade officials that everyone went through the pandemic, but Louisiana was the only state that was hit hard by multiple storms including two major hurricanes in less than two years. When we explain to people who aren’t familiar with what we’ve been through and they realize the devastation we’ve faced, they ask me, ‘Is everyone this passionate about Louisiana?’ Of course, I say ‘yes,’” added Lt. Governor Nungesser. The Louisiana Tourism “Feed Your Soul” float also featured one of three mid-parade performances. American Idol winner, Louisiana native, and Louisiana music ambassador Laine Hardy sang a rendition of Born on the Bayou along with the Grammy-nominated Hot 8 Brass Band.