Louisiana Travel Rose Parade Float

Things to Know About Louisiana’s First Appearance in the Rose Parade®

Small Louisiana: Feed Your Soul logo
The official Louisiana Travel blogging team.

What is the Tournament of Roses?

The Tournament of Roses Foundation is actually a charity that funds charities and programs in sports, recreation, visual and performing arts and education in the Greater Pasadena area. Each year the parade has a theme and Grand Marshal. For 2022, Louisiana's first year of participation, the theme was “Dream, Believe, Achieve,” which was a celebration of education’s ability to open doors, open minds and change lives. The 2022 Grand Marshal was LeVar Burton – an actor, director, education and lifelong children’s literacy advocate. 

While the floats are designed professionally, they are decorated with flowers by volunteers days before the parade. Locals are invited to join the fun and help decorate! 

The Tournament of Roses features four different kinds of entries: floral-decorated floats, equestrian units, bands, and Tournament Entries.  On New Year’s Eve, the floral-decorate floats are judged based on float design, floral presentation, and entertainment value. 

On New Year’s Day, they travel 5 ½ miles down Colorado Blvd parading in front of over 700,000 people. Then a special event called Floatfest follows the parade, which features all the floats that made appearances on the route. Attendees have the chance to see the complexities of these beautiful floral float designs up close! 

How Did The Louisiana Travel Float Represent Louisiana?

You couldn’t miss it–The Feed Your Soul float was 55 feet long, 18 feet wide and 24 feet high!

“Louisiana” was spelled out in giant letters, decorated in crisp white coconut flakes, edged in golden clover seed. As a salute to the birthplace of American Jazz, there was a band of musicians placed before it.

As French and Spanish architecture have influenced our state, so did it directly influence the float’s design. Depicting the iconic wrought iron found in New Orleans and Natchitoches, black seaweed created the detailed scrollwork of balcony railings with lavender statice petals for the highlights. Meanwhile, ornate lamp posts lined the float in dark gray poppy seed with glowing glass lanterns petaled in shiny Lunaria. Mokara and Dendrobium orchids, solidaster, button poms and roses flowed from the draping floral garlands.

As the Pelican State, our Brown Pelicans were largely depicted! Their bodies and wings were detailed with tiny brown carrot seeds, tan and brown sesame seeds and accents of protea leaves. Their beaks were made of gray poppy seeds and orange lentil beans.

Large sculpted magnolias, the Louisiana state flower, were sprinkled throughout the float with fresh magnolia leaves, too.

This float was packed with flavor! Louisiana crab and crawfish were sculpted with a mixture of lentil beans and safflower spices, and beignets had a golden crust of walnut shell and brown sesame seed and powdered sugar created with crushed white rice.  After all, it’s not a trip to Louisiana without an amazing culinary experience! 

And don’t forget the bayou! The swamp water was crafted with over 5,000 light and dark blue irises, agapanthus, and green dianthus. Among the floral waters were a couple of fishermen on a pirogue, decorated with brown and gold flax seed, ironed cornhusk. Our friend and state reptile, the alligator, peeked out with his lime and mung bean body. 

The fanciful floral cypress trees were made of dill seed bark and treetops of green dendrobium and cymbidium orchids. The whooping cranes accented the swamp perfectly with their white coconut-flaked bodies.

The spectacular floral gardens featured were created with over 18,000 roses in rich tones of coral and orange, forsythia, dogwood, ginger, gloriosa lily, hybrid vanda and ascocenda orchids.

Who Was Chosen To Ride On The Float?

The riders selected for the Louisiana float were selected because they each personify the parade theme of “Dream, Believe, Achieve.” They are:

  • Ashini Modi, a 17-year-old volunteer, started a 1,500 book library called the “Reading Rainforest” at the Providence House shelter in Shreveport. She represents the many Louisiana volunteers who willingly help make life better for their fellow Louisianans.
  • Deputy Dylan Crawford of St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. He’s the recipient of the 2021 Louisiana Deputy’s Valor Award for a historic water rescue on the Bogue Chitto River.
  • Alyssa Carson of Hammond, Louisiana. An aspiring astronaut, she has attended every space camp.
  • Dr. Brian Parker, Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, representing Louisiana’s medical professionals who have heroically cared for Louisiana patients throughout the pandemic.
  • Kara Bailey Lee – Jefferson Parish 2023 Teacher of the Year, representing our well-deserving educators in Louisiana.
  • Todd Terrell, Founder and President of the United Cajun Navy, representing all Louisiana volunteers who come to the rescue during natural disasters.
  • Miss Louisiana (America) Julia Claire Williams of Kinder, Louisiana and Miss Louisiana (USA) Tanya Crowe of Amite City, Louisiana who are role models for young people everywhere yearning to achieve their dreams in education and public service.

It’s no secret that Louisiana is the birthplace of some of the country’s biggest dreamers and best musical talent. We were thrilled to have Louisiana Ambassador, Laine Hardy, and New Orleans sensation, the Hot 8 Brass Band, as our mid-parade performers!

A young man from Livingston, LA, Laine Hardy had a dream to become a national country artist. After years of hard work and two American Idol auditions leading to victory, he has become one of Louisiana’s most cherished country music celebrities! 

The Grammy-nominated Hot 8 Brass Band is a story of tragedy and triumph, fueled by their passions for learning about music and creating unique Louisiana sounds. No matter the hardships faced, they persevere–never letting go of the dream to spread joy with their unique New Orleans music! 

We were ecstatic to have both Laine Hardy and the Hot 8 Brass Band join us as performers on the Louisiana Feed Your Soul float at the Tournament of Roses Parade.