BROUSSARD — There was confusion this year over the nutria known as Pierre C. Shadeaux and his prognosticating abilities.
In its initial report, workers at Zoosiana — The Zoo of Louisiana, said that Pierre did see his shadow when he set foot out of his home at the zoo around 7:15 Sunday morning.
“Pierre enjoyed a special breakfast this morning, beignets and Community coffee,” the zoo staff wrote in a release. “After breakfast Pierre takes a dip in his warm tub and as the Education Keepers dry him off and begin to groom him, Pierre slicks his reddish brown hair back anticipating his prediction soon. Although not open to the public this morning, some of the zoo employees arrived early to support Pierre C. Shadeaux. Everyone was excited. As the sun began to rise, and the zoo animals became vocal throughout the zoo, Pierre C. Shadeaux slowly emerges out of son maison.”
Later that day, however, some Lafayette media outlets were reporting that somehow Pierre had communicated to them that he had not seen his shadow, despite the overcast conditions.
Usually there is no question of whether Pierre has seen his shadow or not. The Daily Iberian has hosted numerous events to have crowds watch as Pierre makes his appearance on the morning of Feb. 2, with judges on hand to declare whether the shadow was seen or not. This year, however, the event fell on a Sunday, when the newspaper has traditionally not held the viewing event.
Unlike his northern cousin, Punxsutawney Phil, Pierre C. Shadeaux is not predicting the length of winter, since that isn’t really a concern in the Teche Area. But if Pierre sees his shadow it’s still bad news.
The difference is that for Louisianans, the bad news is an early start to the hot, humid days of summer. If Pierre does not see his shadow and emerges from his Acadian-style house, the area will experience a longer spring.
Since the zoo staff initially said Pierre did see his shadow, we’re going to go with that and declare that, unfortunately, we will see a short spring and a long, hot Louisiana summer.