Miss Louisiana 2011 Hope Anderson will be saying farewell to the crown tonight. This being an emotional time for many people, it will touch Morehouse Parish residents a little deeper than the typical pageant.
Anderson, a Monroe native, has roots in Bastrop. Her grandparents, Jerry and Carolyn Anderson, have been lifelong residents of Bastrop.
Anderson has “fond memories” of the town she grew up visiting, and still frequents today.
“I have wonderful memories of growing up in Bastrop,” she said. “I spent every holiday and most of my weekends there.”
Anderson, a graduate in mass communication at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, will be appearing at the Monroe Civic Center “Jack” Howard Theatre for the 49th Annual Miss Louisiana Pageant.
She'll be watching 36 young women compete for the 2013 title.
“I'm eager and excited to see who captures the crown,” she said. “I will support her in January at the Miss America pageant. I had former Miss Louisiana's helping me when I won the crown and I plan to carry on the tradition.”
Anderson said the past year has been the most “exciting” and “challenging” time of her life.
“It has been such an incredible honor,” she said. “I've done so much traveling that that I lived out of a suitcase most of the year.”
While Anderson has spent most of the year traveling, she found time in her busy schedule to visit Bastrop three weeks ago.
“I spoke at my grandparents church [Faith Baptist Church,]” she said.
Carolyn Anderson was proud to have her granddaughter make an appearance at the church.
“She spoke about being Miss Louisiana and all the things she's encountered,” she said. “She mentioned how she didn't win the first and second times she tried, because it wasn't her time. It was all on God's time.”
An emotional Carolyn Anderson said she was proud of her granddaughter.
“We tell everyone, everywhere we go, that she's our granddaughter. Our oldest granddaughter,” she said. "I have granddaughters that I'm proud of too."
Carolyn Anderson knows Hope is proud of her family also, and her family roots.
“When she gave her speech at our church, she told everyone where her grandparents lived,” she said. “I owned the flower tree for 22 years and she would always come up there and hang out. All of her cousins on the Anderson side still live here too.”
After the pageant tonight, Hope's plan for the future is to go to Johns Hopkins University and pursue her master's degree in communications.
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With all that she's accomplished, she'll never forget where she's come from.
“I grew up in Monroe, but Bastrop has been a second home to me,” she said. “I love the people there. I'll always remember the good times I've spent there with my family.”
The 49th Miss Louisiana Pageant will be televised on KNOE-TV 8 at 8 p.m. tonight. For more information, go to www.misslouisiana.org.