CASA Kids Enjoy Cajun Holiday Tea with Papa Noel
On December 17th and 18th the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen set sail with Papa Noel and a cast of Christmas characters. This annual cruise brings kids together with some of their favorite Cajun holiday friends like Mr. and Mrs. Noel, Gaston the Gator, and several elves on vacation from the North Pole. They were treated to a festive holiday tea complete with snacks and tidbits sure to delight any taste buds. Activities following the meal included a mysterious magician who dazzled attendees with feats of impossibility and a face painter who turned children into fantastical creatures from their wildest dreams! Rounding out the event was story time with Mrs. Noel and a snuggle session with Gaston, a real live baby alligator. Kids even got the chance to mail their Christmas letters directly to Papa Noel! And because this is Louisiana we had to have a little lagniappe, which this year was a take home alligator - of the stuffed variety, Gaston stayed with us.
As a special treat we were joined this year by a group from the Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) of Jefferson Parish. We invited 30 children, along with their caring and dedicated foster parents, to spend a few hours in a southern winter wonderland aboard the Creole Queen. We were so excited to give this gift to such a wonderful group of children and adults! Seeing the joy on their faces was the best Christmas gift any of the Creole Queen team could hope to get. One parent noted “These children were so delighted to be a part of this incredible experience, it allowed them to step away from their reality for a moment and just enjoy being a child again.”
Children whose homes are no longer safe for them to return to are placed in the confusing and oftentimes overwhelming world of foster care. That’s where CASA Jefferson comes in. CASA trains volunteers to be appointed by judges to serve as the voice for children in foster care. By getting to know their assigned child and the people involved in the child’s life, Advocates can fight for the best interest of the child and serve as a consistent, responsible adult presence in their life. Through recommendations made in court, Advocates ensure that their CASA child’s needs are being met and that they’re not lost in our overburdened child welfare system.
The Paddlewheeler Creole Queen looks forward to hosting more families from CASA Jefferson on our many specialty cruises, such as our famous Hoppin’ Down the River Easter Cruise! You can read more about our cruises at creolequeen.com/mississippi-river-cruises. We also set sail daily for the Historical Cruises and the Dinner Jazz Cruise throughout the year.
Learn more about CASA Jefferson at casajefferson.org