Canal Street lined in attempt to get best Phoenix throws

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 21, 2009

NATCHEZ — They left Minnesota in search of warmer weather — they found Phoenix.

Bill and Mary Udseth said too many consecutive days of below zero temperatures drove them from their St. Paul home in search of sun and blue skies.

So, they picked California.

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But when they got there, it was cold and rainy, Mary said.

“So we started looking at forecasts, and southern Mississippi was the place to be,” she said. “And I’ve always wanted to see Natchez.”

They packed their bags, and they were off again.

By Friday evening, the Udseths had claimed an unoccupied doorway on Main Street to watch the Krewe of Phoenix roll past.

And while neither of them had ever been to a parade, they had high hopes and high expectations.

“I’m expecting to have a lot of fun,” Mary said. “And I’m expecting to catch a lot of beads.”

Just a few blocks away on North Broadway, the krewe was lining-up preparing for departure.

High school dance teams put the finishing touches on their routines and those riding on floats made last minute adjustments to their stacks of throws.

And Friday was also a night of firsts for more than just the Udseths.

Angie Friloux recently moved to the Miss-Lou and was eagerly waiting to begin her first ever trip through Natchez on a float.

Friloux’s friends invited her to ride, and it was an offer she couldn’t pass up.

“I can’t wait,” she said moments before the parade started.

And like the Udseths, Friloux’s expectations for the night were simple.

“I just want to have fun,” she said. “Mardi Gras is supposed to just be fun.”