Galloway leads annual Krewe of Killarney parade today

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 22, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; The 2006 Krewe of Killarney St. Patrick puts a new twist on the celebration today &8212; a touch of the Old West.

Raymond Patrick Galloway, born on St. Patrick&8217;s Day and taking his name from the saint, will serve today as St. Patrick XVI, carrying on a tradition in Natchez that includes special services, food, parade and a day filled with revelry.

He knows the Irish blood flows in his veins, but Galloway, a Ferriday native, knows little of his Irish heritage. &8220;Nobody&8217;s ever tried to trace it back,&8221; he said.

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Still, he has great enthusiasm for the celebration and was pleased to be asked to serve as the one to lead the parade.

&8220;I love the Irish, and everyone needs to be Irish on St. Patrick&8217;s Day,&8221; he said.

The Old West theme of his costume &8212; 10-gallon hat draped with shiny shamrocks, green vest and riding boots, for example &8212; reveals Galloway&8217;s special interest.

&8220;I do cowboy action shooting,&8221; he said. &8220;It&8217;s target shooting in Western garb, and everyone has an alias. My nickname is Irish Pat.&8221;

About 15 members in the Natchez area gather for the target shooting. Next week, however, Galloway will be one of about 500 at a meeting of the shooters in Texas.

&8220;There are about 50,000 of us nationwide,&8221; he said.

As senior vice president at Concordia Bank & Trust Co., Galloway has plenty of supporters as he carries out the honorary role today.

&8220;One of the bank secretaries is dressing in a leprechaun costume,&8221; he said.

Many of his friends, along with members of the Krewe of Kilarney, will carry flags and banners.

A bagpiper will play. And when the parade completes its route from the Main Street entrance to Memorial Park to the bluff park, Galloway will drive all the snakes into the Mississippi River &8212; based on the Irish tradition and the Natchez adaptation.

&8220;I just hope the snakes don&8217;t swim the river,&8221; Galloway said. &8220;We live in Vidalia, and we have enough of our own.&8221;

The day of festivities will begin with a special Mass at St. Mary Basilica at noon. At 1 p.m., The Eola Hotel will serve corned beef and cabbage.

Parade participants will gather at 5 p.m. for the 5:30 beginning down Main.

&8220;You do not have to be a member of the Krewe to take part in the parade,&8221; Galloway said. &8220;Come on down and join the fun.&8221;

Galloway&8217;s wife, Cindy, helped him to assemble his costume. She said St. Patrick&8217;s Day always has been a day of fun for the family.

Their two children, now 18 and 25, carry on the Irish heritage in their names &8212; Shannon Kate and Jeffrey Patrick.

The Galloways, members of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Vidalia, attend services at St. Mary, as well. And they like to go back for services to the Ferriday Church where they were married. It&8217;s called St. Patrick Catholic Church.