6 more weeks of winter?

Pierre C. Shadeaux (Photo: The Daily Iberian)

By Paige Nash

Groundhog Day was yesterday. A tradition that has taken place on February 2 every year since 1887.  

On this day everyone anxiously waits for the infamous Punxsutawney Phil to leave his burrow. If Phil sees his shadow, then we should expect 6 more weeks of winter weather and if he does not see his shadow, we are set for an early spring.  

Did you know that the members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club claim that this Phil is the same Phil that has been making the yearly prediction since the tradition began? He is given an “elixir of life” every year at the summertime Groundhog Picnic, which “magically gives him seven more years of life,” the club said. 

Unfortunately, Phil’s predictions are not always accurate. Not to mention that Phil is in Philadelphia. Weather conditions in the northern portion of the country are nowhere near the weather we can expect here in the south, especially in Louisiana, where we sometimes experience winter, spring, and summer within one week.  

In 1999, a former Daily Iberian publisher Will Chapman began what is now called the “Cajun Groundhog prediction” according to a Daily Iberian article.  

“One day I saw something coming up about Groundhog Day and thought, ‘What the heck do people in Louisiana care about six more weeks of winter?’ … I just thought, ‘Why are we paying attention to what some Yankee groundhog says?’ That is where the idea came from,” he stated in the article. 

Our Cajun Groundhog, also known as a nutria rat, goes by the name of Pierre C. Shadeaux. Instead of Pierre predicting whether there will be more winter or spring, he predicts if we will see a longer spring or shorter summer. This is more fitting for our southern state of Louisiana.  

This year Shadeaux, who had to be enticed by an apple to even come out of this burrow, did not see his shadow. That means an early spring here in the hot and humid capital of the United States.  

(AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

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