Phoenix parade rolls through town

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 1, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Before the Krewe of Phoenix rolled down Canal Street Friday afternoon, children and adults alike held empty grocery bags.

They were bundled up in the chilly weather as they anxiously awaited the first float.

Many were decked out for the festivities in Mardi Gras hats and clothing and stylish boas. Allie Stewart, 5, wore a Mardi Gras mask that she said she received at a party.

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Although there were plenty of local residents gathered for the parade, out-of-towners also took part in the fun.

Chris and Leigh Switzer, of Clinton, La., said they have family here and have seen the parades a couple of times.

&uot;It’s a small parade and it has good bands and floats,&uot; Leigh Switzer said.

As Natchez police led the parade with loud sirens from the paramedic units and Natchez fire trucks close behind, eyes widened and hands started to wave.

As the parade rolled on, comics were the theme with the superheroes of the Krewe of Alpheus also joining in.

The Krewe of Krazies featured Charlie Brown and Lucy. And the Society for the Preservation of our Youth threw colorful beads from their float decorated with comic strips.

Spiderman, Captain America and Wonder Woman were also present to save the day, and Elvis came back to life to rock the crowds.

One group, the Krewe de Who, even entertained paradegoers with a funeral procession of sorts. A coffin with the titles of departed City of Natchez department directors

was carried by members of the Krewe wearing funeral attire &045; Mardi Gras style.

The floats were prepared with plenty of beads for the crowds, and bags began to fill rapidly.

Michelle Abels and daughter Nicole, of Vidalia, said they caught &uot;crawfish on a necklace, cups, footballs and moonpies.&uot;

In the midst of the floats, local school bands brought the sounds of Mardi Gras to Natchez.

Robert Lewis Middle School was the first band to make its way down Canal Street with the trumpets and trombones in sync while the drums moved the crowds to the beat.

Bailey Magnet High School’s dance team stepped in time in their black and silver outfits to the &uot;Sounds of Thunder&uot; marching band.

The parade ended with the Krewe of Crude and the Krewe of St. John &045; the latter billed as &uot;Party Animals.&uot;