Anticipation was almost palpable earlier in the week as friends around the Teche Area asked, “Are you going to the Blue Dog party?” Attendees were not disappointed as partygoers who like to dress and express their creativity were at work long before Wednesday night’s gathering at the Bayou Teche Trading Co. on St. Peter. 

More than 30 tickets were sold on The Daily Iberian website alone, but organizer Paul Schexnayder said that doubled other sales and their expectations. His phone rang all day with people wondering if they could pay at the door. There was no turning anyone away.

The fundraiser was for the new George Rodrigue Park planned for Main Street next to the Bayou Teche Museum. Focus on museum renovations began early Wednesday as traffic was slowed on Main Street as a tall crane held the new porch in position over the entrance to the Doc Voorhies Wing. Building a home for Blue Dog was in the air.

“A few months ago I found out about the idea of this and I had a few ideas of what might happen for the event,” Jason Bayard said. “Everything I’ve seen here far exceeded my expectations.”

Creativity flowed as Ted Viator and the Sugar Lumps put the finishing touches on decorations. Fluffy blue tablecloths and blue glitter gave movement to the room before the first guests arrived. The dance team served as hostesses and cashiers for the event.

A group of women threw a shoe decorating party in preparation for the Blue Shoes Competition. Bejeweled stilettos, mud boots and platforms filled the tables with jars for voting the best shoe design, won by Simone Guillory for “The King of the Throne.” Silent auction papers were stationed in front of each shoe for bidders to buy their favorite — another way of making a few dollars for the park renovations.

“You put money in the jar to vote for Top of the Crop Best Shoe,” said Ted Viator, one of the party organizers and part of the planning for the future park. “We have Blue Man Oscar statues for the awards. And a Blue Man group coming and a surprise blue man.”

Zob Munnerlyn, with help from her husband David, constructed a town of blue shoes with the theme, “The little ol’ lady who lived in the sugar cane boot” — a village filled with New Iberia names in the form of blue shoes — boots to toddler shoes painted and decorated with hues of blue with faces attached. 

The surprise after the Blue Man Crew played the audience was kidnapping Michael Alvarez MD. Alvarez was returned later in full blue dress bodysuit and a concealing Blue Dog mask. During his transition, the Blues Brothers women’s dance team performed.

In the back-warehouse area, lit by strings of white and blue bulbs, Mitch Reed displayed his 1960 navy blue Electra wingtip car. Dog houses constructed by Jose McCleary were prepped and ready to have appliques of theme paintings by party patrons — a way to celebrate the artist with art.

“Anything we do is art, so it will be okay,” Schexnayder said. “Anything weird or different or whatever is fine.”

Emcee Taylor Barras played auctioneer for the only live auction item, a Rodrigue signed LSU Blue Dog illustration went to New Iberia native and LSU fan Keith Waldmann. The color blue brought out the party animals, evidenced by too many great blue wigs, but Lynn Flash was named the winner. 

The Kmart Blue Light Special, Linda Dautreuil, Kate Ferry as the Blue Nun complete with a basket of wine, and the friends with horns, Devils with the Blue Dress On, made the night something to see.

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