HOUMA — Jeremy Vargus has produced artificial-snow shows all over the world.
RPI Entertainment puts on hundreds of snow shows per year, from the sandy landscapes of Dubai to the casinos of Macao. The company is also creating the nightly snowfall inside Houma's Southland Mall in front of J.C. Penney.
“Everyone's reactions are the same,” said Vargus, creative director of the Los Angeles-based company, which also puts on laser shows, fireworks and other effects. “Everyone's putting their hands out, touching it, feeling it. It knocks down all borders.”
In Louisiana, where real snowfall is rare, its artificial counterpart makes a frequent addition to holiday celebrations.
Southland Mall is putting on the effect for the first time this year. The snow will fall at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. every night through Jan. 31.
“We just wanted to add something kind of magical to the season,” said Dawn Becker, the mall's general manager. “The people who have seen it really enjoyed
it...It's south Louisiana, so snow is something unique. It's maybe the perfect snow: You can still watch it, and it's still 70 degrees.”
“Especially for warm-weather areas, a lot of kids have never actually experienced snow; they don't realize that it's a theatrical effect,” Vargus said. “You see adults do the same thing, you see them regress to being kids again, they forget all the troubles and worries.”