West End Park was packed Saturday morning. There was barely a parking place to be found on either side of Field Street, starting from the railway tracks and moving down the street toward its turn at the pumping station.
Hundreds of people could be seen, some playing basketball under the pavilion, others on swings or gathering in small groups. And lots of them were carrying baskets or pails, many in the pastel colors commonly associated with Easter.
In several areas, bright vinyl tape blocked access to grassy areas. And inside the tape, brightly colored dots of plastic Easter eggs could be seen covering the ground, calling quietly to the children who were passing by.
“This is such a beautiful park,” said Pastor Don Norman, chief administrative officer of Our Savior Church, the sponsor of the first “Egg-Splosion” Easter egg hunt Saturday. “It’s a hidden jewel on the West End of New Iberia. We just wanted to do an event to bring people together here to enjoy it.”
From under the pavilion, another member of the team was getting the kids revved up for the hunt to begin.
“How many eggs do you think we have out there,” the voice called to the crowd from the speakers at the stage. “Did I hear 10,000? Wait, someone said 20,000? Hey everybody, let’s go count the eggs. The number of eggs we have is… drum roll… “
The sound of a hundred kids tapping and buzzing their version of a drum roll filled the air, and then the answer came.
“I actually don’t know!”
The crowd let out a collective laugh at having been had, but then Norman took the microphone.
“We just want to build relations for you,” Norman said. “We don’t want anything from you. We just want you to be in church this weekend. Call your momma and tell her you’ll be going to church with her.”
The group split up from under the pavilion and formed up along the border of the three marked areas, each segregated by age group, as the children waited for the peal of the air horn to start the hunt. And when it came, they were off, ducking under the tape and running for the bright oval jewels scattered on the dewy grass.
“We just wanted to do something for the children,” said Brandy Boutté, a congregation member who was volunteering for the event.