Washington Mardi Gras will have a decidedly Acadiana vibe this year with two Lafayette residents tapped to serve as king and queen of the Mystick Krewe of Louisiana.
Charles Goodson, the founder, chairman of the board and CEO of PetroQuest Energy, who hails from Shreveport and now resides in Lafayette, will serve as king of the Washington Mardi Gras festivities slated for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Amelia Grace Zepernick from Lafayette, a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, will serve as queen.
Goodson, who began his career in oil and gas in 1977 in New Orleans at Mobil, is a longtime member of the krewe and was chosen by krewe chairman Congressman Charles Boustany Jr. to rule over the Washington fete.
Boustany also chose Zepernick for the queen’s role — not her first time in the royal throne. Zepernick has a love of Mardi Gras that began at age 5 when she participated in the Children’s Krewe of Versailles in Lafayette and later served as its queen at 14. She was selected as a maid by the Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras Association last year as well.
The 2015 Washington Mardi Gras theme is Land of Coastal Riches — a highlight of the waterways, ports, oil and gas, recreation, wildlife, tourism, cuisine and agriculture that is birthed by the Louisiana coastline. It’s an apt fit for Goodson, who has a longstanding role in oil and gas.
Perhaps most notable is Goodson’s role as co-founder, owner and president of American Explorer in 1985, which focused on exploring the Gulf Coast region as well as the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico. In 1998, American Explorer merged with Optima Energy to form PetroQuest Energy, a NYSE listed company.
Goodson is also a member of a slew of organizations centered around the industry, including the Lafayette Association of Petroleum Landmen, the American Association of Petroleum Landmen and a member of the board of directors of Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center. He is also a member of IberiaBank's Lafayette Advisory Board, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Energy Advisory Council and a past member of the Governor’s Energy Policy Advisory Commission and the Young Presidents' Organization.
While his industry involvement is deep, his civic organization service is also a priority with roles serving from the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Acadiana to a stint as past regional governor - Louisiana (Southwest) for the Independent Petroleum Association of America and past chairman of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association.
While Boustany serves as chairman for the event, the new krewe captain (following the end of Sen. Mary Landrieu’s four-year term in the role) for 2015 is Sen. David Vitter.
The 2015 king and queen aren’t the only Lafayette connection in DC Mardi Gras. Artist Tony Bernard of Lafayette is the official artist who created a fleur de lis piece that represents all that is Mardi Gras and the land of coastal riches.