Despite rain, Alpheus parade rolls on

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 14, 2009

NATCHEZ — Skies were overcast and rainy, but that didn’t dampen the party atmosphere when the Mystic Krewe of Alpheus launched its Mardi Gras parade Friday night.

Showers throughout the morning kept parade-goers wondering if the parade was going to happen, but after meeting with Natchez city officials, the parade committee decided to let the good times roll.

The options the krewe had were either roll with the rain or roll with the Krewe of Phoenix parade next week.

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“We decided if that was our only option, we would take it,” Parade Chairman Alphonse Coco said.

The parade was rained out last year, but Natchezian Sally Jones, who was riding with the Rebelling Tigers float, said the rain wasn’t going to keep this year’s parade down.

“I think everyone will have a great time,” she said.

It was the tradition of having a great time that made Colby Gray, who was riding with the Krewe of Lake St. John, excited about the parade.

“It’s fun to see all of the different floats,” he said. “I like the spirit of it — the beads, the king cake.”

The theme of the parade was “Unlucky in Love,” and the parade participants were dressed as celebrities whose marriages and affairs were not successful.

The costumes and bright floats included everyone from Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson to John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe to Sonny and Cher.

When it started the crowds were sparse, but as more and more people realized that the parade was still on, the sidewalks began to fill with spectators.

Six-year-old Jasmine Stockstill and her 3-year-old friend Sydney Sharp were standing at the corner of Main and Canal streets, holding their umbrellas upside down to form a giant candy-catching bowl.

And Stockstill knew the real reason for the Mardi Gras season.

“I like it because they throw candy,” she said.

A little farther down the street, Sharon Flourney and her husband Willie Simpson were in Natchez to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.

“We just lucked out that it was Mardi Gras,” she said.