FESTIVALS & ATTRACTIONS
Buggy Town Playground
Buggy Town Playground, a $125,000 project in 1998 revitalized an old park with state of the art features that beckoned visitors yet cost no public funds.
It was achieved through a suggestion and a focused, energetic volunteer effort.
Opelousas native LeBas was living in Slidell when Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005 and cost him his New Orleans-based business. His family briefly lived in Opelousas, then moved further west to Church Point and decided to sell the home in Slidell and remain. "We just fell in love with Church Point," LeBas said. "It's a place where you can walk to church, walk to two schools, to banks, to places to eat."
Soon, LeBas got involved in local interests and suggested a new playground for the town's children. Christine Benoit of Farmers' State Bank and local merchant Nenna Higginbotham, both liked the idea and began to pursue it.
They received a step by step guide from a company called Leathers & Associates. This company has assisted in building playgrounds all over the United States and in other countries as well. Each playground is unique to the culture of the area and the children help design it."
"Getting people to believe we could do it was definitely part of it," Benoit said. "How are you going to raise that kind of money? If it's built, will it be taken care of? But we got great support from people from all walks of life. It amazed me to see everyone coming together."
Fund-raising grew slowly at first, and then gained momentum with crawfish dinners, golf tournaments and phone calls. A presentation to potential donors resulted in $37,000 in pledges, a big leap in the program's eventual success.