Our Very Own, Jerre Borland

Once upon a time, in a little town known affectionately as "The Berry", a woman stood watching THE SUGARCANE FESTIVAL parade as various floats went by toting around many BONAFIDE queens and small children wearing large sparkly tiaras.  She watched as flatbeds and tractors passed by full of "happy" people carrying plastic cups waving to the crowd as music played.  She watched the sequined and blinging dance girls, saw all the people from New Iberia out with their families enjoying the celebration, when suddenly—she had a light bulb moment!

It was then that the idea of THE BERRY QUEENS began to form.  Having been an honorary member of The Sweet Potato Queens since her late 20’s, she suddenly could envision a group of women “of a certain age” dressed in sequins, big hair, and enhanced costumes of amazing flamboyance and sparkliness dancing and sashaying on a float playing most excellent and “sugar-filled” music and whipping the crowd into spasms and frenzy.  At the top of the float stood Her Royal Hi-Ness, Queen of the Berry, with "hair" big enough to make a grown woman from an Alabama trailer park weep with envy, dress shining brighter than the sun on account of all the sequins and such, breasts and buttocks standing proud and large!   An icon of luv-liness, she showed all the under 30’s women what a REAL WOMAN is actually made of!  She was extra-ordinary in her bee-you-tee-ous-ness and her pageant wave and scepter motion were simply A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

But how, she asked herself, would such a being be found to ascend said float and represent The Berry in such a fashion?  She could not answer this, and so the dream was put away—temporarily forgotten—and she went back to her daily routine of mommyhood.

Two years later, the same woman found herself on the Board of Iberia Habitat for Humanity and LO and BEHOLD! she was asked to be on the Fundraising Committee.  It was then that the idea began again, coaxing her into thinking about meshing the two—the quest for THE BERRY QUEENS and raising money for Iberia Habitat for Humanity.  A WIN/WIN situation was in the making!

After a lot of planning and a lot of begging, pleading, threatening, coaxing, and sucking up—she secured her queens, the location, the favor of the Mayor and the City Planner, and the date was set.  She gathered queens from all over the Queen City of the Teche and held the first competition to find HER ROYAL HI-NESS, Queen of THE BERRY in a Ball and Pageant event on Friday, September 19, 2008 at The Sliman Theater in downtown New Iberia.  Once she (understandably) was chosen and crowned, the queens rode on a float in The Sugarcane Festival Parade and represented Iberia Habitat for Humanity and The Berry.  Her dream was finally realized!

Now, 10 years plus lots of funds  for Iberia Habitat later, she has a membership of over 100 women who use their inner and outer tiaras to benefit their community as Christ intended in a bigger haired, sparklier and more enhanced way.  Tiaras and philanthropy--making it "Easy To Be Queenly In The Berry!"


2014 Civic Service Award Recipient