The 67th Bayou Liberty Pirogue Championship welcomes pirogues and canoes onto beautiful Bayou Liberty near Slidell for races traditionally held on the first Sunday in June since 1952. Admission is free for spectators and racers alike.
The day begins with a "Blessing of the Pirogues" at 1:00 pm immediately followed by the competition until 7pm. All events take place at St. Genevieve Landing, located just four miles west of Slidell at the Bayou Liberty Bridge crossing (scroll down for directions).
The event will feature competitive paddling, including: men's championship race; common boat race; two-man canoe race; women's championship race; women over 40 race; men over 40 race; girls 13-16 and 8-12 races; and boys 8-12 and 13-16 races. The oft-hysterical blindfold race is also planned, wherein racers wear blindfolds and attempt to race 50 yards around a buoy.
Fest-goers can participate in a silent auction and raffle; ticket holders can vie for a 14-foot Fiberglass pirogue and other prizes. Live music, games, arts and crafts booths, and of course, food and beverage vendors. Ice chests are not allowed on the premises.
The Bayou Liberty Pirogue Race was founded in 1952 by the St. Genevieve Men's Club to raise money for Christmas presents for area children. The annual event was later taken on by the Bayou Liberty Civic Center's Men's Club. The event is coordinated today by Mike Pichon, son of the late Junior Pichon, a key founder of the competition who paddled at the tender age of 17 in the inaugural Bayou Liberty race and worked for nearly six decades to ensure the future of this traditional bayou sport. Proceeds benefit area families and community park areas. For information on how to support this great community event, contact Mike Pichon at (985) 643-2581.
St. Genevieve Landing is located just four miles west of Slidell, on Louisiana 433 at the Bayou Liberty Bridge crossing. From I-12 to Exit 80 to Northshore Blvd. to Hwy 190. Turn right onto 190/Gause Blvd. Follow west to Hwy 433/Thompson Rd., turn left. Follow Hwy 433 to St. Genevieve Catholic Church to park near the St. Genevieve boat launch.
From I-12 to Exit 80 to Northshore Blvd. to Hwy 190. Turn right onto 190/Gause Blvd. Follow west to Hwy 433/Thompson Rd., turn left. Follow Hwy 433 to St. Genevieve Catholic Church.
PHOTO: Pirogue races courtesy Bill Lang for LouisianaNorthshore.com.