Cathedral graduate humbled to reign over Pilgrimage

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 19, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Working summers at his father&8217;s construction company was enough to convince Mark Edward Carter Jr. to follow in his father&8217;s footsteps.

At Louisiana State University, Carter is majoring in construction management with an eye toward returning to Wilmar Construction Company.

&8220;I worked in the summers in high school and really enjoyed it,&8221; Carter said. &8220;I was a basic laborer, mostly a carpenter&8217;s helper. I&8217;ve learned a lot. I worked on commercial and residential sites.&8221;

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Since March 25, Carter has been driving back and forth from Baton Rouge to take part in the Historic Natchez Pageant four nights a week. The chance to serve as king, representing the Pilgrimage Garden Club, was exciting, he said.

&8220;I&8217;ve enjoyed getting back to Natchez, being able to see people I&8217;ve not seen in a long time,&8221; he said. &8220;It&8217;s humbling to be chosen. You think about all the tourists who come to Natchez, and it&8217;s an honor to be chosen to represent the city.&8221;

With Queen Kathryn Anne Green, Carter will continue to serve at the pageant Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday through April 8.

The pageant, a tradition during Spring Pilgrimage since 1932, begins at 8 p.m. at City Auditorium.

Carter, 21, has many memories of participating in the pageant, from Maypole as a small child to dancing the lead role in &8220;Soiree at Jefferson College.&8221;

His other childhood memories center on outdoor activities and a variety of sports.

&8220;I grew up hunting and fishing and played every sport known to man,&8221; he said. &8220;But my favorite sport is golf.&8221;

A 2003 graduate of Cathedral High School, he was recipient of scholarships for both leadership and academic achievement. In sports, he was a four-year letterman in football and a five-year letterman in golf, serving as team captain in both those sports during his senior year.

At age 18, he completed work to become an Eagle Scout as member of Troop 158. &8220;That was a great experience,&8221; he said. &8220;Scouting is about so much more than just camping and hiking.&8221;

He credits his scoutmaster, Freddie Voss, for inspiring him to rise to the highest level. &8220;He&8217;s wonderful. I&8217;m sure he&8217;s a lot of people&8217;s hero. He&8217;s definitely at the top of the list of those who influence you.&8221;

He credits his parents, too, for teaching him about respecting others and about how to be polite and mannerly.

&8220;I hope that I always would treat others the way I would want to be treated,&8221; he said. &8220;That&8217;s what my parents taught me.&8221;

LSU has been a good experience for him, Carter said. &8220;I went from a small school to a big university. It was eye opening. There are diverse people from all over the country &8212; and from other countries. It opens your eyes to the world. I&8217;ve benefited from that.&8221;

His fraternity selected Carter as the embodiment of the gentleman ideal, one of the four ideals of the &8220;balanced man&8221; to which the members aspire.

He is modest about the honor, but it is one his parents, Mark E. Carter and Mary Ann Carter of Vidalia, are pleased he received.

Carter&8217;s grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. John P. Lambert of Rotonda West, Fla.; Janice S. Carter and the late Malcolm L. Carter of Natchez and the late Mr. and Mrs. Nathan M. Calhoun of Vidalia.