Alpheus, Mer among Natchez Mardi Gras krewes

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

In 1991 a group of Natchez residents gathered together to form a new krewe in town. Looking to do something just a little different, the group formed theMystic Krewe of Alpheus.

According to charter member Babs Price the new group did a lot of research to come up with their name.She credits the final choice of Alpheus to krewe member Sally Durkin.

The name Alpheus comes from Greek mythology and it means &uot;God of all rivers.&uot; And given that we live on the Mississipp, &uot;Alpheus&uot;seemed most appropriate. Alpheus’s great love was Arethusa and that name is used each year for the krewe’s queen. Also, they decided to have what is called a mystic krewe.

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This means that they all wear masks or face paint in their parade and, of course, having a night parade with torch bearers certainly adds to the atmosphere.

Beginning with a mere 63 members the Mystic Krewe of Alpheus held their first ball and parade in 1992. Reigning over the festivities were King Alpheus I, Kirk Montgomery and Queen Arethusa I, Sherry Bearden.

At the time, the king and queen were not announced until the night of the grand ball. But about three years ago, they began announcing them on Twelfth Night each year to give them a longer reign. Besides being mystic the krewe is also known for their elaborate floats in their parade. The king and queen also decorate their floats with the theme.

This year the Mystic Krewe of Alpheus will hold their parade on the evening of February 13, with the theme, &uot;TV Land.&uot;

Reigniing over the parade will be King Alpheus XIII, Mark VanDevander and Queen XIII, Kim Falkenheiner.

Sensing that the Mardi Gras festivities in Natchez were only going to grow, another group of Natchezians gathered in 1993 and formed the Krewe of Mer.

Charter members of the new krewe were Margaret January, Ralph Jennings, Wilbur Johnson, Bessie Bradley and Sadie Bacon.

The Krewe of Mer has grown to 60 members and will celebrate Mardi Gras 2004 with the theme of &uot;Karnival D’Mer, Krewz N the World.&uot; Their king and queen this year are Arthur J. Reed and Jacqueline Letcher. Serving as captain is Renza Grennell and as consort is Jonathan Grennell.

Christina Hall

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