Le Tour de Bayou - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Le Tour de Bayou

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ALEXANDRIA, La. - The oldest building in Cenla hosted the newest event in town.

It was Le Tour de Bayou at the Kent Plantation House.

Residents came out to support the historic home by cycling, running and walking all over Rapides Parish and beyond.

Joy Hodges and Sally Foster have been working with the Kent Plantation House since the 1960's.

Joy Hodges, participant: Well it's part of our heritage here. It's been here for years, and it's part of both Sally's and my passion to keep everything the same and better than we found it.

And now, years later, they're still supporting the historic home. The first annual Le Tour de Bayou called for all cycling skill levels to ride and walk across Cenla to benefit the preservation of the Kent House.

Joy and Sally say their 2-mile walk is the perfect way to keep history alive.

Sally Foster, participant: "We're going to get a lot of exercise and help Kent House."

Event organizers agree. They say it's about staying active--both in the community and in the fresh air.

Bess Hensel, chairman of Le Tour de Bayou: "I thought you know, we have to come up with something different in Alexandria as a fundraiser. People are tired of cocktail parties. They want to get out and do stuff with their families."

Hensel says they were hoping for 200 participants, but ended up with 600.

Hensel: "It just goes to show that people will come out to support an old home. And the great thing is, we have people that have come, and they've never set foot on the grounds, and they've lived here for years."

And after the race, food and fun for family and friends. Joy and Sally say it's good to see the Kent House bustling again.

Sally Foster: "I think this is more than we ever imagined.

Joy Hodges: "You can't imagine the amount of people whose blood, sweat and, literally, tears are behind this whole Kent House operation."

They say they know and love the past of the Kent House, and they can't wait to see its future.

Joy Hodges: "Look what we've got now. Something for all of our parish to be proud of, and the state."

Organizers say with a first-year turnout like this, they are expecting Le Tour de Bayou to become an annual Cenla tradition.

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