MechaCon was conceived as a revolutionary Anime convention experience, utilizing a unique three-fold approach focusing on Japanese animation, Japanese culture, and Transformers. The brainchild of two close friends, Pete Bares and Jon Russo, the convention soon became the largest, longest-running and most successful anime convention in Louisiana.
Though successful now, this was almost not the case as the convention began with a less than auspicious first year event. MechaCon’s inaugural weekend, August 26-28 2005, saw an unwelcome visitor as the now infamous Hurricane Katrina bore down on the Mississippi and Louisiana Gulf Coasts. The storm made landfall merely hours after MechaCon closed its doors for the weekend. For many of the convention’s attendees, it was the beginning of weeks of uncertainty and great anxiety. Some attendees left the convention early, hoping to get a head start driving away from the storm and the convention’s home city of Lafayette, Louisiana. Others remained in Lafayette, unable to return home to the southeastern side of the state. In the days and weeks following the storm’s landfall, the convention staff rose to the challenge of helping displaced convention attendees from the storm affected areas in any way that they could. A mere four weeks after Katrina’s historic landfall, just as the convention staff began to catch its collective breath, Hurricane Rita slammed into southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana. Striking even closer to Lafayette, some on MechaCon’s staff were affected in much the same way as those they had been helping just days before, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
In the aftermath of these two devastating hurricanes, the MechaCon staff was faced with a daunting question: Should MechaCon continue?
After a brief period of contemplation and discussion, MechaCon’s staff finally produced an answer to this burning question. YES!
It was determined that continuing the annual convention was not only a good idea, but practically a necessity. The convention staff felt that pushing forward was a declaration of the convention’s commitment to Louisiana’s rebirth. Thus, in August of 2006, the second annual MechaCon opened its doors, proving to be even more successful than the inaugural show. In continuing its efforts to provide aid to those affected by the previous year’s hurricanes, MechaCon took advantage of an opportunity to raise funds for the ongoing recovery effort by partnering with Harmony Gold out of Los Angeles, California. In this partnership, MechaCon played host to a special charity screening (and one of the first public viewings) of the feature length animated film ‘Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles‘, giving 100% of the proceeds to the Salvation Army’s Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita relief funds.
Following the success of the first two MechaCons, the convention would only get bigger and better in its third year, featuring a screening of the unreleased English dub of the film ‘Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence‘, presented by the film’s ADR director and principal voice actor, Richard Epcar.
In MechaCon’s fourth year, the convention produced a theme spotlighting the 10th anniversary of ‘Cowboy Bebop‘, a series that defined an entire generation of anime fans. This year also included a concert by the incomparable anime recording artist Ilaria Graziano with Francesco Forni, their first concert ever on U.S. soil. It was at this convention that MechaCon’s staff realized a harsh truth… MechaCon has outgrown the convention facilities the city of Lafayette has to offer. A move to another city was imminent.
In 2009, MechaCon’s staff opted to deal with the rising temperatures and crowded hallways of the Lafayette Hilton one last time and took the opportunity to make a surprising announcement to the public… the convention was moving to New Orleans, Louisiana. And so, in July of 2010, MechaCon opened the doors for its sixth annual event in its new home city. However, MechaCon’s first convention in New Orleans would prove to be bittersweet.
In May of 2010, the MechaCon family suffered a painful loss with the tragic and unexpected death of MechaCon’s Main Events Coordinator, Amanda Morain. Amanda’s death was preceded by the passing of one of MechaCon’s most loyal attendees, as well as by the death of MechaCon’s dear friend and previous guest, Carl Macek. Carl was scheduled to be a guest again at MechaCon in 2010 to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of ‘Robotech‘. Despite this emotional triple-whammy, the show went on and shattered MechaCon’s previous attendance records.
In 2011, MechaCon moved to a new, bigger facility. The seventh annual convention was one of MechaCon’s best to date, featuring a special screening of the film ‘Trigun: Badlands Rumble‘ and a full-fledged rock concert by the band Eyeshine. In keeping with MechaCon’s history of charitable efforts, the 2011 show held a charity auction to raise money to help with disaster relief in Japan, which had previously been ravaged by an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in March of that year.
Now, with more than ten successful shows in the books, MechaCon is ready and poised to move forward and reach even greater heights. Heading to our new home at the Hyatt Regengy New Orleans in 2017, MechaCon continues its tradition of being “The show you can’t miss!”
|*For further information on attendance number calculation, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org|
|2016||Amelie Belcher, Caleb Hyles, Kazha, Courtney “Courtoon” Morelock, Jason Narvy, Khary Payton, Wendy Powell, Paul Schrier, and Steve Yun.|
|2015||Steven Blum, Steve Kenson, Jonathan Klein, Kyle “Ex-Shadow” Mathis, Malinda “Malindachan” Mathis, Mike McFarland, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Courtney “Courtoon” Morelock, Nylon Pink, Austin Tindle, Greg Weisman, and Tommy Yun.|
|2014||Amelie Belcher, Greg Cipes, Eien Strife, Tiffany Grant, Jonathan Klein, Kuragiman, Scott Menville, Brian “Kuragiman” Navy, Jessica Nova, Khary Payton, Jessie Pridemore, Andrea Romano, Kelli Sarré, Spike Spencer, Tara Strong, Twinfools, Hynden Walch, and Greg Weisman.|
|2013||Karan Ashley, Johnny Yong Bosch, Steve Cardenas, Daniel Coglan, Jillian Coglan, Eyeshine,Walter E. Jones, Jonathan Klein, Cyril Lumboy, Jason Narvy, Paul Schrier, Hynden Walch,Greg Weisman, David Yost, and Tommy Yune.|
|2012||Eien Strife, Richard Epcar, Jason David Frank, Todd Haberkorn, Samantha Inoue-Harte, Jonathan Klein, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Vic Mignogna, Daran Norris, Wendy Powell, Ellyn Stern, Jonathan M. Thompson, and Steve Yun.|
|2011||Steve Blum, Johnny Yong Bosch, Clover, Eyeshine, Lisa Furukawa, Kyle Hebert, Samantha Inoue-Harte, Jonathan Klein, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Kevin McKeever, Scott McNeil, and J. Michael Tatum.|
|2010||Chris Cason, Richard Epcar, Todd Haberkorn, Mari Iijima, Mike McFarland, Kevin McKeever, Vic Mignogna, Tony Oliver, Wendy Powell, Ellyn Stern, J. Michael Tatum, Dan Woren, Tommy Yune, and Robotech Convention Tour.|
|2009||Christopher Ayres, Greg Ayres, Garry Chalk, Samantha Inoue-Harte, David Kaye, Kevin McKeever, Vic Mignogna, and Wendy Powell.|
|2008||Greg Ayres, Beau Billingslea, Steve Blum, John Chambers, Francesco Forni, Lisa Furukawa,Ilaria Graziano, Carl Macek, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, and Tommy Yune.|
|2007||Michael Dobson, Richard Epcar, Lisa Furukawa, Tiffany Grant, Matt Greenfield, Limit Break Cosplay, Mike McFarland, Kevin McKeever, Scott McNeil, Ellyn Stern, and Jonathan M. Thompson.|
|2006||Garry Chalk, Lisa Furukawa, Brittney Karbowski, Limit Break Cosplay, Kevin McKeever, Scott McNeil, Richard Newman, Doug Smith, Kira Vincent-Davis, Brett Weaver, and Alec Willows.|
|2005||Tiffany Grant, Limit Break Cosplay, Joshua Seth, Doug Smith, and Alec Willows.|