It may be a time of separation and worry for many families as the coronavirus outbreak continues to erode our social, medical and economic fabric, but for some there are times when you just have to get out and celebrate.

For a few New Iberia residents, that time was Saturday morning as friends of Becky Collins got together to do the city’s latest “drive-by birthday” celebration.

Collins, along with her husband Wyatt, have become huge supporters of the Iberia art and culture scene since they moved here from Mississippi two decades ago. So it was not surprising to see two of the couple’s neighbors, Iberia Cultural Resources Association Executive Director Cathy Indest and Bayou Teche Museum Director Marcia Patout, organizing the line of cars before the surprise procession started.

Lucky for the participants, the rainy weather held off for the morning, allowing the beautiful weather to continue for a few more hours after the parade of well-wishers drove past the Collins’ home near the Bayou Teche.

The new normal of social distancing and a statewide stay-at-home order have created a niche for these alternative methods of socialization. Whether it is a parish-wide scavenger hunt like the one the “Better Times on The Bayou” group is currently sponsoring, front-porch bingo played over phones and iPads along Main Street or the flurry of impromptu parades to wish neighbors well and celebrate from a distance, it seems that people have found ways to work the joie de vivre of Louisiana life into the more stark conditions we find ourselves in.

It may be that some of these stand ins actually become traditions as time moves on.

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

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