Mardi Gras parade relieves the ‘winter blahs’

Published 12:03 am Saturday, February 6, 2010

NATCHEZ — As Eddie Ray put it, Friday night was a chance for the Miss-Lou to relieve the “winter blahs.”

Ray was the Grand Marshal for the Krewe of Alpheus’ 2010 Mardi Gras Parade. Even though the night’s sky was gray, Ray was still in cheerful spirits about the parade because the rain held off for the Mystic Krewe.

“A lot of people consider Natchez a little New Orleans, so it is an honor to bring that spirit here,” Ray said. “The theme for the parade is ‘the games people play,’ and everyone is going to play tonight.”

King Alpheus XIX, better known as Stan Owens, dressed up in wizard robes with a Fleur de Lis on his cape for the king’s float.

“I do this for the fun and the people,” he said. “We like to get here early for the fellowship,” he said.

Mary Kay Doherty, also known as Queen Arethusa XIX, said that she loves the Krewe of Alpheus.

“They are great people, and a lot of fun — all of these people are my extended family,” she said. “And we started a night parade to do something different.”

“The lights make it,” Owens added. “It is just much better.”

Fifteen floats rolled Friday night, from the Queen’s castle shaped float the Queen of Hearts to the Krewe of Fat Mama’s, which featured a lady riding a donkey like the restaurant’s logo, and many floats representing the New Orleans Saints.

“It is all about the Saints,” Ty Hutchins said after the parade had passed him on Main Street.

Jo Ann Bourgeois came from New Orleans and said she’d do it again next year.

“It was good, clean, fun,” she said.

Patti Jenkins agreed the parade was a lot of fun.

“There were a lot of people, everyone laughing and hollering ‘throw me something,” Jenkins said. “And they paid a lot of attention to the kids.”

Mary Katherine Mascagni, 11, goes to most of the parades in the area for the excitement of seeing the floats and catching beads, so she can add them to her bead collection.

“I have a bunch of beads at my grandma’s house,” she said.

Mascagni was loaded down with more than 50 beads and was running in the streets for more after the parade had passed.

“I love Mardi Gras,” she said. “I love feeling like I’m in New Orleans.”

Doherty also invited the Miss-Lou to the Krewe of Alpheus’ public ball tonight at the Natchez Community Center. Tickets for the ball are $35, available at the door.