In April of this year I managed to find a free weekend that allowed me to attend CyPhaCon in Lake Charles, LA. Although I am from the area, this was my first time to ever attend CyPhaCon. This was their third year of existence, and they have managed to solidify themselves as the top anime/pop culture convention in southwest Louisiana.
Their guest of honor this year was anime voice actor Kyle Hebert. He was very entertaining during his panels, and although I didn't visit directly with him, he seemed to be a very hospitable person. The crowd really enjoyed listening to him and it was very obvious from the multitude of anime cosplayers that his fans were there in full force.
Not only was this the first time to attend CyPhaCon for me, it was also the first convention that my young son ever attended with me. He was a bit taken aback by all of the cosplayers, but with a little coaxing I did manage to get him to warm up to members of the 501st and the Rebel Legion, two Star Wars cosplaying groups that do countless hours of volunteer and charity work. They are two really great organizations. I hope to join up with them in the very near future.
Other groups present at the convention were the USS Lafitte, a local Star Trek fan club, the Red Stick Rebellion, which is a Baton Rouge-based Star Wars collectors club, the Calcasieu Parish Library Association (who handed out some really cool fandom-based flyers), a multitude of artists, author Michael Moreau, and the Louisiana StarGators, a Stargate fan group.
Myself and my son attended quite a few panels. We were particularly interested in the Red Stick Rebellion panel on Star Wars LEGOS, since my son has taken quite a bit of joy in building those types of sets lately and he loves the franchise to death.
We also played around with a local LARP group that provided swords, shields, axes, and even crossbows to attack each other with.
Also in attendance were the lovely ladies of Orion's Envy, a Star Trek-inspired dance troupe that perform in full Orion regalia (including green skin). Not only were they easy on the eyes, but they were super friendly as well.
For a small convention, CyPhaCon is doing everything right. The staff was friendly and made sure that everything ran as close to plan as possible. I've done time on a convention staff before, and all I can say is that CyPhaCon's staff has their program together. I predict a bright future for this convention and plan to attend as often as possible in the future.