Jan 032013

By Wesley Brown

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Joey Durel, the mayor of Lafayette, La., has a plate of Parker’s barbecue coming his way courtesy of Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas.

The shipment should arrive by next week, Thomas said Wednesday, to settle a friendly wager the two mayors made over the outcome of the New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 22 between East Carolina University and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Under the terms of the challenge, each mayor pledged some home cooking and, with each community being nationally recognized as a Tree City, a plant native to its region — a bet Thomas initially did not expect he would have to pay.

A week before the New Orleans Bowl, the Greenville mayor projected an ECU win, and for much of the contest, it looked like he may be right as the Pirates kept pace with the Ragin Cajuns. But ECU ultimately lost 43-34 for its fourth consecutive defeat in postseason play, an outcome Thomas graciously accepted Wednesday.

“I consider this to be an ambassador opportunity for our community,” said Thomas, who initiated the bet in early December.

Thomas said he met Durel at the bowl game, thanked him for attending and sent a quick message afterward to congratulate him on Louisiana’s victory.

The mayor said he plans to work with Durel in the coming weeks on the best time to send a crepe myrtle, the official flower of the City of Greenville, to Lafayette to plant when the season is right.

“We will plant a little piece of Greenville in Lafayette,” Thomas said.

Durel said Wednesday that he enjoyed meeting Thomas, ECU coach Ruffin McNeill, their families, players, staff and friends, and hearing about Greenville. He said he hopes both he and Thomas have the chance to engage in another friendly wager in the future.

If ECU had won, Durel planned to treat Thomas to some of southern Louisiana’s famous Cajun cuisine and send the City of Greenville a bald cypress, a tree indigenous to the Gulf Coast and one of Durel’s favorites.

“We had a lot of fun with it,” Durel said of the wager. “I think it is always great when you can promote your town and your team and share the good spirit.”

The mayors agreed to share ideas on economic development and possibly work together on future projects.

Contact Wesley Brown at 252-329-9579 or wbrown@reflector.com. Follow him on Twitter @CityWatchdog.

via The Daily Reflector.


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