Edgin reigns as NGC king

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 31, 2001

Richard Alfred Edgin III, currently serving as Natchez Garden Club King of the Historic Natchez Pageant, has grown up equating a springtime with the Natchez Pilgrimage and pageant. From the time he was a three-year-old until now as a young adult, he has been influenced by his participation in &uot;the pageant&uot; and by his parents’ active involvement in the Natchez Garden Club’s civic activities.

As a 3-year-old, Edgin’s first experience in the pageant was in the Little Maypole tableau. Througout his grammar school and high school years, he participated in a number of tableaux, including the Big Maypole, The Steamboat, the American Flag Triumphant, the Polka, the Wedding of Jefferson Davis, and the Confederate Farewell Ball.

When invited to be king, Edgin was not only &uot;surprised, but excited.&uot; He was surprised because being chosen as royalty and court members usually involves college juniors. He was excited because &uot;being asked to be king is an honor for my family&uot; and recognition of their years of dedication to garden club activities.

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His parents have been involved in the club’s restoration and preservation as well as its tours of homes, annual flower shows, antique shows, and city beautification projects. In addition, Edgin’s older brothers Corbett and Collin and his sister Cassandra Edgin Ruley were long-term pageant participants. The Edgin family’s restoration efforts have extended even into their private lives. Through the years, they have purchased and restored two antebellum houses in downtown Natchez-Dorsey House and Rip Rap, their current home.

Edgin was a 1999 graduate of Cathedral High School where he played on the varsity basketball, football and baseball teams and has played college baseball. In order to be on hand for all court activities of the Historic Natchez Pageant, he enrolled this semester as a sophomore at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Natchez, taking courses toward business degree. Eventually, he plans to work for Edgin Construction, currently owned and operated by his father and established in 1968 by his grandfather, whose own grandfather was a contractor in Texas. His mother’s grandfather was also in construction as a carpenter in Louisiana.

For each pageant performance, Edgin wears a reproduction Confederate Brigadier General’s uniform, a cavalry officer’s uniform, designed and custom made by Janis E. Schreiber of New Orleans, and based on &uot;written regulations&uot; (Confederate Regulations of 1861-1862), photomodels of originals, and individual specifications. His tunic coat is cadet gray, double-breasted with eagle-encrested brass buttons, and yellow collar and cuffs. On the collar are embroidered the regulation general’s insignia of three stars with a gold wreath; and extending from the cuffs, the sleeves bear the general’s four rows of gold braid.

The waist sash of bright gold is surrounded by a black leather sword belt. The sword is a replica of a confederate general’s sword, its black leather with twisted brass wire handle, its carbon steel blade engraved with scrollwork surrounding &uot;CSA,&uot; and its black metal and brass scabbard initialed &uot;CS.&uot;

The uniform trousers are dark blue with a double gold stripe down the outside seams. Edgin wears a confederate-gray &uot;slouch&uot; hat, its crown surrounded with gold cording and a pair of officer’s dress-white leather gauntlets, richly embroidered with gold bullion eagles, arrows, and crossed sabers.

Following his tenure as king in a pageant that reflects the generations-old heritage of his native Natchez, Edgin will return to his pursuit of a business degree to take his place in a company that reflects four generations of his family’s heritage.

Richard A. Edgin III is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard A. Edgin, Jr. His grandparents are Mrs. Richard A. Edgin of Natchez and the late Richard A. Edgin, Mr. Seth Maurice Howard of Jackson, and Mrs. Mary Donson of West Monroe, La.