Morgann LeLeux Romero will make you fall in love with Louisiana
Two years ago Morgann LeLeux Romero scheduled a full-on New Orleans wedding for December 2016. She had no inclination that would be the eve of her first professional season as a pole vaulter.
(Photo credit: Kennedy Sampey)
If you have never encountered someone from Cajun country, Morgann LeLeux Romero is great place to start. The accent, the ebullience, the passion for all things southern Louisiana might catch you off guard at first. But soon enough you will be wondering how you have made it this far without knowing someone from New Iberia, Lafayette or Erath.
Romero planned her recent wedding thinking that by December 2016 her pole vaulting days would be over. Her career plans changed at Olympic Trials, but one date remained locked on the calendar.
“Since we were in the city, I wanted a glitzy, glamour, party atmosphere,” LeLeux Romero said, explaining her wedding’s “Great Gatsby” theme. “We went with that vintage kind of feel. The Blue Room at the Roosevelt (Roosevelt Hotel, New Orleans) is very old, and beautiful.”
“At school every summer they made you read a book and then you take a test on it. Most of the books I had to read I got the Spark Notes and hope it worked out. For some reason, someone explained The Great Gatsby to me and I thought ‘that’s really interesting.’ It was the only summer reading book for school that I read!”
With Mardi Gras approaching at the end of the month, LeLeux Romero is looking ahead to celebrating the real holiday – not the caricature most of the country has come to know.
“As a kid, Mardi Gras was one of my favorite holidays. It’s crawfish season and I love crawfish. My mom would paint our faces and we would be at parades all day from 8 in the morning to 8 at night. It’s not as bad here as it is in New Orleans. As a kid, we noticed all the beads, and the pretty floats and the pretty girls all dressed up. And the crawfish and the King Cake!
“Also, the balls. People get into the balls, which are a great way to raise money for our community. We’ll get into it one day after my pole vault career. It’s a lot of late nights, OK, a lot of drinking. My parents used to be really big in the Mardi Gras balls. The dresses they would buy … I love pretty, sparkly dresses. They make me really happy. I want to buy a Mardi Gras dress some day.”
Morgann LeLeux Romero’s pole vault career puts her in the middle of the family business. Almost every LeLeux has a part in New Heights Gym in her hometown of New Iberia.
“[My father] coaches gymnastics, I coach pole vaulting and my mom runs the business. And then my middle sister, who did pole vaulting and gymnastics, is a hair beautician and she opened her business off the gym.”
“I would love to live in New York City for a little while. When I was little I was sure I was going to be on Broadway, before pole vaulting. But I love my life, I love what me and Jacob have and how I’m able to train at home.”