CADE — The hair was big, the bass was pumping, and the fluorescent leggings and T-shirts were aglow for Friday night’s “Best of the Teche” awards gathering at the Cade Civic Center.

The 80s-themed event, sponsored by The Daily Iberian, had locals digging through their closets for their cassette decks, album covers and even an old Atari video game system to craft their table displays, reveling in the culture of that decade even as attendees wore masks and kept as distant as possible during the event.

This year’s contest was a record-setting event, according to Daily Iberian Publisher Shanna Dickens.

“We had 14,766 nominations this year, and 194,281 votes cast,” Dickens said as she began presenting the awards. “It is an honor to be dressed this ridiculously in front of a group of New Iberia’s business owners and leaders.”

Those attending the awards ceremony grasped the 80s concept and ran with it. Local artist Paul Schexnayder donned a surprisingly realistic looking wig to pull off his Thomas Dolby ensemble, while Helen Bayard turned heads and earned an award for her representation of a pre-Material Girl Madonna.

The table decorations were likewise inspired and elaborate. The table for presenting sponsor Rouses Supermarket won first prize, with its black-and-neon-green paean to Tim Burton’s “Beetlejuice.”

Overall, though, the party was a throwback to the pop and R&B of the Reagan years, with KSMB deejay Bobby Novosad spinning the tunes that recalled his heyday on the region’s airwaves.

The awards themselves are based on an online and terribly unscientific poll that was taken earlier this summer. In the first phase of the contest, people submit their nominations in a variety of categories, from best drinks to best physical trainer to best dentist.

Those nominations were then compiled and published so voters could select their favorite in each category.

Inside today’s copy of The Daily Iberian, you’ll find a special section that includes all of the winners from the 2021 contest.

Dwayne Fatherree is the community editor for The Daily Iberian. He can be reached at

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