Hometown Heroes - Tony Perot

Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 7:36 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - A Lake Charles man who helped create the popularity of Gumbeaux Gator has died from COVID-19.

Some folks may not have recognized the name Tony Perot in the obituaries last week, but those who grew up during the early days of Gumbeaux Gator knew who he was.

The late Marty Myers created the character for the SWLA Convention and Visitors Bureau, but Tony Perot made Gumbeaux come alive.

“Tony had a fun, really lively personality. Gumbeaux Gator, the character, really wasn’t meant to speak. He was just to go out and make movements, be in his costume and shake hands. But tony brought a whole other personality to Gumbeaux Gator, and he is the only Gumbeaux Gator who spoke,” said former CVB director Shelley Johnson.

When tony retired from the position, he taught other young actors to play the part.

“We had to have Tony teach them Gumbeaux Gator classes. Teach them how to smooch, because Gumbeaux was always giving a big smooch to people, shaking his tail, dancing around. You know, that had to be taught.”

Tony Perot died February 8, of coronovirus at the age of 70.

He lives on inside the Mardi Gras museum, and for more than 20 years, he read the “Cajun Night before Christmas.”

“When you walk in, the first character you see is Gumbeaux Gator, and that’s Tony’s voice you hear welcoming you to the Mardi Gras Museum.”

Perot is survived by his wife Jennifer, along with a son and three grandchildren.

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