BATON ROUGE - Today, Governor-elect John Bel Edwards and the next First Lady of Louisiana, Donna Edwards, released the following new information related to the 2016 Louisiana Governor’s Inauguration. The inauguration of statewide elected officials will take place on Monday, January 11, 2016. A detailed schedule will be available to members of the media prior to Inauguration Day.

The legendary “Voice of the Tigers,” Mr. Jim Hawthorne, will be the Master of Ceremonies for the Inaugural Celebration. Hawthorne is retiring at the end of the men’s 2015-16 basketball season after 35 years of calling play-by-play action for Louisiana State University’s men’s basketball, baseball, and football teams.

Hawthorne was at the microphone for LSU’s 2003 and 2007 BCS National Championships, as well as with LSU’s six national titles in baseball and three Final Four appearances in men’s basketball. As LSU’s Director of Broadcasting, Hawthorne has been responsible for the broadcast content, personnel, and equipment for all network broadcasts on one of the most powerful collegiate radio networks in the nation.

Gov.-elect Edwards will be introduced by Lt. Colonel (Retired) Murray Starkel. Starkel was a classmate of Gov.-elect Edwards while at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Gov.-elect Edwards will be sworn in on his family Bible. The family Bible will be presented by his cousin, Mr. Frank Edwards III, who will be representing the late Mr. Frank Edwards Jr., father of Gov.-elect Edwards and former Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff. The governor-elect’s father passed away last year.

Members of the Louisiana National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 141st Field Artillery Regiment, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, also known as the Washington Artillery of New Orleans, Honor Guard will perform the Posting of the Colors and line the Capitol steps during the Inaugural Ceremony. Officially recognized on September 7, 1838, the Washington Artillery of New Orleans was organized by as early as 1819 and is the oldest field artillery battalion outside of the 13 colonies. Named after President George Washington, the Washington Artillery is one of the most famous and unique artillery organizations in the United States.

Comprised of soldiers of the Louisiana Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 141st Field Artillery Regiment, the battalion is based at Jackson Barracks and is the oldest unit in the Louisiana National Guard. The battalion is part of the 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and it twice deployed to Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

The National Anthem will be performed by Nancy Armstrong Holmes, Minister of Music at Greater King David Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, LA.

The Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Richard O’Brien, a Purple Heart recipient who served in the U.S. Navy as a Captain on a river patrol boat.

The invocation will be led by Reverend Dr. Rodney Wood of The Mission Foundation. The inaugural prayer will be led by Reverend Samuel Tolbert, President of the National Baptist Convention. Father Mark Beard of St. Helena Catholic Church will give the benediction. St. Helena Catholic Church is the home parish of Gov.-elect and Mrs. Edwards.

Over 3,000 live plants will be part of scenery at the Inaugural Ceremony. The plants come from local nurseries across Louisiana.

Johnny G. Anderson, Deputy Chief of Staff for Programs and Planning, will preside over the Pre-Inaugural Service where the following musical groups will perform:

  • Tulane Roots of Music – New Orleans, LA: The Roots of Music empowers the youth of New Orleans through music and mentorship, while preserving and promoting the unique musical and cultural heritage of the city.
  • Centenary College Choir – Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport, LA: The Centenary College Choir is a unique collegiate choral group, singing a varied repertory including both sacred and secular music, from Bach to Broadway, folk to contemporary, and opera to oratorio.
  • Victory Belles – New Orleans, LA: The Victory Belles are the National WWII Museum’s vocal trio bringing listeners on a trip down memory lane with their spirited performances of old favorites sung in rich, three-part harmony.
  • Livingston Parish Children’s Choir – Denham Springs, LA: The Livingston Parish Children’s Choir is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to bringing vocal training of the highest standards to the children of Livingston Parish for the past 23 years.
  • Inaugural Gospel Choir – Baton Rouge, LA: The Inaugural Gospel Choir is made up of choir members from five choirs around Baton Rouge and will be directed by Ms. Nancy Armstrong.
  • Montoucet Family – Lafayette, LA: Representative Jack Montoucet and his family are close friends of Gov.-elect and Mrs. Edwards. They will be performing Amazing Grace in French.
  • Louisiana National Guard Band – Bossier City, LA: The 156th Infantry Band is based in Bossier City, LA and comprised of the finest, hand selected soldiers from across the Louisiana National Guard.