Jamey Gamberi reigns as NGC king

Published 3:05 pm Sunday, April 1, 2007

As James Andrew “Jamey” Gamberi serves as king for the Natchez Garden Club during the Historic Natchez Pageant, one thing is clear to him: He is doing his part for tourism in his hometown.

With a part-time job at Dunleith Plantation, Gamberi has seen first hand how tourism works.

“I started as a bellman,” he said, describing his work at the historic inn and resort. “I have worked on computers and have helped to set up for special events.”

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Gamberi said the experience has taught him “work ethics and how to deal with people, also how to budget.”

His mother added, “I think it taught him how important the tourism is as an industry in Natchez.”

Gamberi is the son of Joe and Andree Gamberi and the grandson of the late Mr. and Mrs. Joe Gamberi Sr. and of Mr. and Mrs. John A. Leckie, all of Natchez.

He reigns during the pageant with Aimee Guido, queen representing the Natchez Garden Club.

He is a 2004 graduate of Cathedral High School and is majoring in business at East Mississippi Community College.

During this semester, in order to be closer to home for the pageant participation, he is attending Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Natchez.

From high school, Gamberi entered military service. “I went to boot camp in April 2005 at Lackland Air Force Base,” he said. “I graduated from tech school but they discovered I had asthma and gave me an honorable discharge.”

He has not given up the dream that he may go back into the military. Indeed, he hopes once his college degree is behind him, he might enter a branch of the military as an officer.

During his time at Lackland, he received ribbons for Air Force Training, Global War on Terrorism, National Defense Service and Small Arms Expert Marksman.

The military might have been an obvious choice for a young man who grew up in Boy Scouts, as Gamberi did, serving many years in Troop 158.

Further, he always has enjoyed the outdoors. “I have been hunting since I was a little kid, at first with my dad,” he said. “Scouts introduced me to canoeing, rock climbing and other outdoor things.”

Gamberi enjoys trapping and cooking crawfish, too, and is a familiar figure at Main Street Marketplace Café on Friday and Saturday nights. “I like to cook with my buddies and help to serve,” he said.

Along with his three brothers, Gamberi has grown up taking part in the Spring Pilgrimage pageant. He was surprised, however, to be asked to serve as king.

“I was glad to be asked, and it’s been fun,” he said. In past years, he has been in Big Maypole and The Picnic and has served as American Flag bearer.

Gamberi wears a tailored antebellum-style uniform. The sword he carries is a gift from his grandparents. It is a replica of a Confederate cavalry officer’s sword.

The sword features a metal scabbard, has a black finish and brass furniture and a brass hand-guard that is engraved and initialed, “CS.”