Pageant experience made more exciting with family, friends

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

NATCHEZ &045;Joanna Katherine Biglane feels blessed to be serving as pilgrimage

queen for the Natchez Garden Club &045; because so many of her family and friends are involved in the pageant this year.

&uot;I’m so thankful to get to spend this time with my family and friends,&uot; she said.

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Biglane is serving with King Stephen Thomas Edwards, her friend since childhood. Edwards’ father is Biglane’s godfather; likewise, Biglane’s mother is Edwards’ godmother. Their families have been friends for many years.

&uot;He’s one of my dearest friends,&uot; she said. &uot;We’ve always been very close.&uot;

Biglane’s cousin, Julia Rachel Kuehnle, is her page, and one of her best friends, Virginia Lee Waycaster, just ended her reign as queen for the Pilgrimage Garden Club.

And Biglane’s younger brother, Patrick, is dancing lead in the soiree.

But beyond that direct participation, a wide circle of family and friends have been supportive every step of the way, Biglane said.

She and her mother &045; along with many of her mother’s friends &045; spent countless hours beading her dress, which was designed and made by Cindy Whittington.

Biglane recalled waking up early over Christmas vacation and spending much of the day with her mother as they worked on the dress.

&uot;That’s been time we got to spend together,&uot; she said.

Many of Biglane’s friends from Louisiana State University will be attending the pageant and the parties associated with her reign. She looks forward to sharing her hometown with them.

&uot;Natchez is so different,&uot; she said. &uot;The culture runs so deep. I can’t wait to share it with my friends, and certainly, in the future, with my family.&uot;

Her love of Natchez and its history may have led Biglane to her current field of study. She is majoring in art history at LSU, with a minor in Italian. She would one day like to become a museum curator.

Biglane, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Patrick R. Biglane of Vidalia, La. She is the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Noland Biglane of Natchez and Mr. and Mrs. Delane Thornhill of Vidalia.

A graduate of Cathedral High School in 200, she is a junior at LSU, where she has earned membership in the honor fraternities Gamma Beta Phi and Alpha Lambda Delta and the Golden Key Honor Society. She is a member of Campus Crusade for Christ, Reformed University Fellowship, the LSU Italian Club and the National Italian Art Society.

As a member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority, she has served as chapter correspondent, academic development chairwoman, and Gamma Chi for LSU fall 2002 recruitment. In addition, she has been tapped as a member of the National Order of Omega and selected to serve on the Greek Steering Committee.

As a volunteer, Biglane works with Baton Rouge Children’s Cancer Services, the LSU Art Gallery Committee and the National College Art Association.

While in Baton Rouge, she attends Christ the King Catholic Church but remains a member of St. Mary Basilica in Natchez.

In high school, Joanna Biglane was elected Miss Cathedral High School, homecoming queen, president of the Key Club, student council representative and &uot;friendliest&uot; in the Seniors Who’s Who. She also served on the Retreat Team (a peer ministry organization). As a member of St. Mary Basilica’s Catholic Youth Organization, she participated in mission trips to Saltillo, Mexico, for three summers. In addition, she performed one year with the Emerald Tide Drill Team and three years with the varsity cheerleader squad. At cheerleader camp, she competed to earn the status of United Cheerleaders of America All-Star. As a graduating senior, she was awarded the John Steckler Memorial Scholarship, the Hailey Estes Memorial Scholarship, G. Stuart and Stella Handy Memorial Scholarship, Kiwanis Scholarship and LSU Alumni Scholarship.

Biglane’s interests and hobbies include art, aerobics, travel and reading.

An avid Historic Natchez Pageant participant, she served as royal page to Queen Susan Jane Stahlman and performed in such tableaux as Little Maypole, Big Maypole, Picnic at Concord, Fannie Elssler and soiree and Jefferson Military College, dancing the lead as Sweetheart in the Tableau her senior year.