° empty

Daggett is NGC queen: Cathedral graduate reigns during second half of Pilgrimage

Photo Courtesy of Anne McDaniel — Queen Betsy Daggett is representing the Natchez Garden Club in the Historic Natchez Tableaux during the second half of Pilgrimage. Betsy is wearing former queen Joanna Biglane McNeel’s dress, earrings and a necklace pendant that belonged to her great-grandmother Emeline Dayton Wurster and a crown and scepter given to her by her grandparents J.W. and Bobbie Calhoun.
Photo Courtesy of Anne McDaniel — Queen Betsy Daggett is representing the Natchez Garden Club in the Historic Natchez Tableaux during the second half of Pilgrimage. Betsy is wearing former queen Joanna Biglane McNeel’s dress, earrings and a necklace pendant that belonged to her great-grandmother Emeline Dayton Wurster and a crown and scepter given to her by her grandparents J.W. and Bobbie Calhoun.

NATCHEZ — Betsy Daggett has been charming Pilgrimage tourists her whole life, even as a baby in a bassinet at Magnolia Hall.

“Tourists from all over the world probably have a picture of me in that bassinet,” Daggett said laughing. “My mom would be in her dress giving a tour, and I was in Magnolia Hall in an old bassinet.”

Submitted photo — Betsy stands with her grandparents Bobbie and J.W. Calhoun and sister Ginny Daggett.
Submitted photo — Betsy stands with her grandparents Bobbie and J.W. Calhoun and sister Ginny Daggett.

Those years of Pilgrimage practice should come in handy when Daggett puts on her crown to reign over the second half the Historic Natchez Tableaux as this year’s Natchez Garden Club queen.

“I feel really honored, of course,” Daggett said. “So many great girls have had this honor.”

From Little Maypole to queen and nearly everything in between, Daggett said participating in Tableaux has always been a part of her life even though she is a Jonesville native.

Submitted Photo — Betsy, right, poses for a photo with her sister, Ginny, and her brother, Rodney, during Pilgrimage when they were younger.
Submitted Photo — Betsy, right, poses for a photo with her sister, Ginny, and her brother, Rodney, during Pilgrimage when they were younger.

“I pretty much feel like I am from Natchez,” she said. “I’m not from Natchez, but Tableaux has always been a really big part of my life, and I take pride in it.”

Daggett also takes pride in her mother Penny’s dedication to the Natchez Garden Club.

“She has been very loyal and worked very hard for the Natchez Garden Club in many ways for years,” Daggett said. “It’s benefited not only her, people of Natchez and tourists, but her children too in several ways, and I thank her for everything.”

Daggett’s past pageant participation includes Little Maypole, Big Maypole, Polka Favor Girl, Picnic, Soiree, Polka, Placard Bearer, Raising of the Flag, Wedding and 2011 Court.

Tableaux, Daggett said, has helped her build relationships with her friends during the years.

“It was always a place where we could hang out,” she said.

Tableaux has also built a bridge to Natchez’s past about which Daggett said she has enjoyed learning.

Betsy Daggett, left, holds hands with her sister, Ginny. The two sisters are dressed for their parts as Placard Bearer and in Big Maypole, respectively.
Betsy Daggett, left, holds hands with her sister, Ginny. The two sisters are dressed for their parts as Placard Bearer and in Big Maypole, respectively.

“I just love history,” she said. “My whole family loves history, and it’s really cool to be a part of it and be connected to those people in the past and do what they did and wear what they wore.”

Daggett will be wearing former queen Joanna Biglane McNeel’s dress and earrings that belonged to Daggett’s great-grandmother — Emeline Dayton Wurster — that McNeel also borrowed to wear with the dress. Daggett’s crown and scepter were gifts from her grandparents, J.W. and Bobbie Calhoun.

Daggett is the daughter Rod and Penny Daggett. She is the granddaughter of J.W. and Bobbie Calhoun of Monterey and the late Mr. and Mrs. Dick Daggett of Jonesville.

Betsy is a 2010 graduate of Cathedral High School and attended Copiah-Lincoln Community College, where she was an honors student. She now attends Louisiana State University and is majoring in natural resource ecology management with a concentration in wildlife ecology.

She is a member of Phi Sigma Theta National Honor Society.

In high school, Daggett played and lettered in slow-pitch softball for six years, fast-pitch softball for six years, track for six years and basketball for four years. She was named to the All-District teams several times for slow-pitch and fast-pitch softball and was named All-Metro Player of the Year for fast-pitch.

She was member of the Key Club, Pep Club and an honor roll student.

Daggett has also been active in community service by helping raise money for charitable events. She attends Trinity Presbyterian Church in Jonesville.