Queen Dixie Gem Peach LXXI Emma Kathryn Carter has been invited by Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser to ride in the Tournament of Roses Parade with him on the Louisiana float Jan. 2, 2023, in Pasadena, Calif.
Other state parade riders include a former patient of the Shriners Hospital in Shreveport and 20 Louisiana queens from around the state.
Carter, a senior at Quitman High School, said she could not wait for this “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
“I’ve never done anything like this before, so I was in complete shock,” Carter said. “I have never been to California before. I’m super excited to get to go to a new state and experience some new opportunities. My mom, Jennifer, as well as my sister Kailee will be joining me for this cool experience.”
Carter said she was honored to be this year’s Queen Dixie Gem Peach and receive this opportunity.
“Louisiana entered a float in the Rose Parade last year for the very first time,” Carter said. “The float this year is showcasing all different parts of Louisiana and things we produce, grow and celebrate, so they picked festivals in different areas of the state and invited some of the festival queens to ride the float. The Peach Festival was selected, along with several other festivals, to ride on the float with the lieutenant governor.”
Carter said she believes this is a great way to represent the parish, the Peach Festival and the Dixie Gem Pageant through this big opportunity.
“The purpose of the float is to generate more tourism, and with Ruston being represented, hopefully more people will come to experience our great town,” she said. “I’m so honored to be able to represent Ruston and the Peache Festival, as well as Louisiana. I appreciate all the support along the way.”
Carter is the daughter of Billy Carter and Jennifer Giddens and plays basketball and track.
The Rose Parade will be aired on TV on Jan. 2 on ABC and NBC. The Louisiana float will be highlighted and Louisiana’s own country music singer Lainey Wilson will perform as well.