By Bonny Van

The Catholic Commentator  

As Adele Breazeale’s tiny fingers offer a cookie up into the air, soft, furry lips meet the treat halfway and gently pull it away. That’s what happened, over and over, until two boxes of vanilla wafers disappeared and Bubbles took a break during her visit to St. Joseph Cathedral in Baton Rouge on Oct. 20 for “Grand Day.”  

Camel 2.tif

Adele Breazeale, 3, feeds cookies to Bubbles during “Grand Day” at St. Joseph Cathedral in Baton Rouge on Oct. 20. Bubbles makes appearances throughout south Louisiana, participating in nativity scenes and Passion Plays. Photo by Bonny Van | The Catholic Commentator

 

Bubbles, a dromedary camel, lives with her family on a farm in Walker and is quite busy – as far as camels living in south Louisiana can actually be busy. And, like most humans, her busiest time is during the Advent season through the Epiphany (think Christmas through Twelfth Night) and again during Lent.  

For a camel, especially one living in south Louisiana, there are many opportunities for show business. And for Bubbles, who was born in 2011 in Texas, her journey began when another camel that was part of an annual live Passion Play passed away.  

Pam Cowart said she and her husband, Tommy, along with their children Jacob, Jessica and Savannah, parishioners of Immaculate Conception Church in Denham Springs, attended the play at a church in Amite when the pastor asked for someone to buy a camel. Cowart said her kids immediately stepped up to the call.  

“I’m like ‘No, no, no … that’s not happening,’ ” recalled Cowart with a smile. “And so that afternoon they went home and started looking for camels for sale and surprisingly they found lots of camels for sale but this one was born that day.”  

For a week, the children continued to show their mom photos of the baby camel as she continued to protest. Finally, Cowart said she started asking questions from the veterinarian that took care of the previous camel and different groups that sold camels. Her final phone call was to the pastor of the church who made the request.  

“I called the pastor and asked him if he was interested in using the camel if we bought one. He absolutely was and within three weeks, Bubbles was with me,” said Cowart, who already had horses and cows on the family farm. 

The family bottle-fed Bubbles for four months, once with help from Father Frank Uter, pastor of Immaculate Conception, and Father Paul Yi, current pastor of St. George Church in Baton Rouge. And according to Cowart, Bubbles’ calendar quickly began to fill up.  

“She started doing events right away,” she said. “We do live nativities, we do Vacation Bible School, we occasionally do a school event or any type of charity event – we don’t do anything for profit.”  

Bubbles’ diet consists mostly of horse feed but she does enjoy treats such as vanilla wafers and graham crackers. But that’s not all. Cowart said Bubbles is “just like a goat,” munching on trees, brush or even paper if offered to her.  

“She loves the attention,” explained Cowart. “When we’re in the yard, she follows us like a dog. My parents live across the street and sometimes they’ll take her walking down the street. Bubbles likes to go to their house and get cookies.”  

In the eight years Bubbles has lived in Walker, numerous “camel sightings” have created quite a bit of excitement. One incident occurred when Bubbles escaped her pen. Cowart said a passing motorist videoed Bubbles, and it went viral.  

“She’s very friendly,” said Tommy. “We have a lot of fun with her. People will pull up in the yard (at our house) and say, ‘Did you know you have a camel in your yard?’ ” 

For Epiphany, Pam Cowart said Father Uter places a sign in the parking lot that says, “Wise Men Parking.”  

“So people will see the sign when they go into Mass and when they come out, Bubbles is there. Father Uter allows them to feed her donuts and pet her and it helps them understand a little bit about what was going on during the Epiphany. I’ve dressed up as a Wise Man before,” Cowart added  

Now that their children are adults and with one getting married this month, the Cowarts decided this was a good year to clear their calendar of all but two events and take a rest.  

“We usually book up between Thanksgiving weekend through Epiphany but we’re taking the season off to rest and let Bubbles rest,” stated Cowart. “It gets a little crazy.” 

Bubbles, who was blessed as a young calf by Father Uter, continues to bring joy to her family and new friends.  

“It allows us to get out in the community, meet people, just engage with other communities that we don’t see so it’s been a blessing for us,” Cowart said. 

Cowart said everyone who sees her are enthralled in being able to touch and feed her, noting she has never “had anyone walk away without smiling.” 

To read more about Bubbles’ adventure, visit her Facebook page at Bubbles-the-Camel.