New krewe: Vidalia’s Krewe of Vidal is official

Published 11:35 pm Wednesday, August 3, 2011

ben hillyer | The Natchez Democrat Vidalia resident Cassandra Lynch is heading up the Krewe of Vidal, a 40-member Mardi Gras krewe named for the city’s founder. Lynch is currently accepting membership applications.

VIDALIA — While shorts and flip-flops are the appropriate attire in the Miss-Lou right now, Cassandra Lynch has her mind on beads, masks and her favorite winter coat.

Since the 2011 Mardi Gras season, Lynch has been in the process of developing Vidalia’s Mardi Gras krewe. With the success of Vidalia’s first Mardi Gras parade, the idea for an official krewe was the natural next step.

Lynch said The Krewe of Vidal — named after the city’s founder Don Jose Vidal — will be a 40-member krewe. Potential members can submit an application.

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“We are looking for team players,” Lynch said. “We want people who are interested in seeing Vidalia continue to grow, focus on unity and have fun.”

Lynch also wants the group to be culturally diverse.

“This idea is an opportunity for all,” said Vidalia Alderman Triand “Tron” McCoy. “I want to emphasize how diverse we plan on this krewe being. It should be stressed at every level that there are no restrictions based on race or religion.”

Lynch said when she reached out to the community in organizing the 2011 Mardi Gras parade, the response was overwhelming. She said she never expected so many Vidalians to turn out.

“That was a great feeling,” Lynch said. “It was just like New Orleans, only on a smaller scale.”

Mardi Gras is a special time of year to Lynch since she grew up and lived in New Orleans.

“Ever since I was a little girl we did Mardi Gras,” Lynch said, pointing to a cabinet in her living room filled with painted Zulu coconuts from Mardi Gras past.

The coconuts are iconic of the Krewe of Zulu, and Lynch said she wants to find a special item that identifies Vidalia’s Mardi Gras.

“We will pick out something unique so you know it was Mardi Gras in Vidalia,” Lynch said.

Lynch said she is thrilled to have the support of Mayor Hyram Copeland and the Vidalia Board of Aldermen.

“Alderman Tron McCoy gave me a challenge,” Lynch said. “He said, ‘If you can do this — we need to make it big.’ I knew I had to raise the bar for myself.”

Spurred with McCoy’s challenge, Lynch also requested, and received, support from the Vidalia Police and Fire Departments.

Lynch said while the Krewe of Vidal will be first, she hopes other krewes will follow.

“That goes along with our motto,” Lynch said. “A city on the move.”

Lynch said the krewe is not just about Mardi Gras, it’s about community.

“We’ll have events throughout the year to help our city,” Lynch said. “We are looking at charities and scholarships (to sponsor).”

Lynch said Fred Marsalis and Jack McLemore will be asked to serve as the krewe’s advisors. Krewe members will make up subcommittees.

Besides the support of family and city leadership, Lynch said a local business has been helpful as well.

“Southern Designs will be the Vidalia Mardi Gras headquarters,” Lynch said. “They help me with beads, other things to throw and T-shirts.”

Southern Designs manager Tance Hughes said Vidalia’s first Mardi Gras was good, and next year’s will be even bigger and better.

Hughes said he enjoys working with Lynch.

“She goes out and makes the noise,” Hughes said. “I stay behind the scenes. She is really the driving force behind it. She really deserves the credit.”

McCoy agreed that Lynch is the right woman for the job.

“She’s as smart as she is motivated, and as goal oriented as anyone I’ve ever seen,” McCoy said. “She doesn’t lose focus on the prize, and that’s important for people in leadership roles.

“If last year’s parade is any type of indication of how this krewe and parade will go, it will be good,” MCoy said. “You’ve got to be there.”

For an application, call Lynch at 318-518-7656. Applications require a $25 processing fee, which goes toward member dues.