The Krewe of Mer announces its 19th annual Mardi Gras court

Published 9:41 am Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Submitted photo

special to the democrat

NATCHEZ — The Krewe of Mer will host its 19th Annual Grand Mardi Gras Ball at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Natchez Convention Center.

The event’s theme is “Mer Soul Circus.”

The ball is by invitation only.

Mer royalty will represent characters and acts from the Circus, doing it “Mer’s style.”

The court is as follows:

King Charles Fleming Groom

King Charles Groom is a charter member of the Krewe of Mer, having served the organization in many capacities over the years. Those who have attended the grand ball over the years may remember Groom as a gunslinger when the Krewe of Mer’s theme was Wild Wild West, or in our salute to Motown he was Little Stevie Wonder.

Groom is a native of Natchez and the son of Fleming Groom and Ella Hall. He attended Saint Francis School and was a 1959 graduate of the Sadie V. Thompson School. He is retired after having served 29 years in public service. His last position was as the courier for the Adams County Board of Supervisors.

Groom is an avid sports enthusiast with a love of football, basketball and baseball. He has even worn the stripped shirt of the official at a number of athletic events in our area.

He is affiliated the Wharlest Jackson Elks Lodge, the Knights of Peter Clavor and the Krewe of Mer.

Groom is a member of Holy Family Catholic Church. He is married to Pearl Harris Groom and is the father of seven children.

Queen Brenda Washington

Queen Brenda Washington is the daughter and stepdaughter of Thomas and Carol Valentine of San Jose, Calif., and the daughter of the late Berlin Washington Payne of Natchez

Washington is the goddaughter of Mildred Terrell of Natchez. Washington is the proud mother of two sons, Derrick and Lucius Washington.

Washington is the godmother of Clarnecie Williams, Tykerrionna Terrell, Akeyah Terrell, James McGraw and Tevin Davis, all of Natchez. Washington has three grandchildren and is the oldest of 10.

Washington is a graduate of L.W. Higgin’s High School in Westwego, La. She attended the University of New Orleans, studying English literature. After returning home to Natchez, where she was born, Washington continued her education at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, studying Oral Communication.

Washington was baptized at Grove African Methodist Episcopal Church and has been a member for the last 11 years. Washington serves on the trustee board, usher board and as the assistant secretary for the senior choir under the mister of Dorothy Hill.

Washington is also a member of the Adams County Mass Choir and former president of the Suzie B. West and Lower Woodville Heights Apartment Tenants Organization.

Washington’s hobbies are reading, singing and writing poems. Her passion is helping others and working in her community, but her love is working with children and the elderly. Washington’s motto is “Being blessed means to bless others, and that’s all the blessings one can ever ask for.”

Captain Annie Bell Varner-White

Captain Annie Bell Varner-White is a Natchez native. She is a graduate of North Natchez High School and Alcorn State University. She has a bachelor’s of arts in sociology/social work and a master’s in guidance education.

Varner-White is continuing her education at Argosy University in Sarasota, Fla. She is pursuing a doctoral degree in school psychology. Varner-White is married to Darrell Spencer White. She has three children, Daniel Varner Jr., Darah and deVon White. Varner-White has three godchildren, Fallon Brown, Z’yon and Khloe Holiday.

Varner-White is employed with the Mississippi Department of Human Services as an area social work supervisor in Jefferson County.

She is a member of New Beginnings Missionary Baptist Church and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

Varner-White’s motto is “Children are not bad, they do mad things.” Her hobbies are helping others and spending time with her family.

Consort Darrell Spencer White

Consort Darrell Spencer White is a past president of the Krewe of Mer. He is married to Bell Varner-White. They are the parents of three children, Darah, Daniel and deVon and the godparents of two, Z’yon and Khloe Holliday.

He is employed by the City of Natchez in the office of tourism management as the director of cultural heritage tourism.

Those responsibilities include the operation of the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture.

He has represented the African American community via his work over the years with the Natchez-Adams Chamber of Commerce, Historic Natchez Foundation, United Way, the Natchez Bluff Blues Festival, Mississippi Blues Trail, Mississippi Civil Rights Trail and the Saint Catherine Street Trail Project.

He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Duchess: Glennese Smith

Duchess Glennese Smith is a native of Natchez. She is the middle child of the late Glen Smith Sr. and Many Smith. Smith is the granddaughter of Henry L. Smith Sr., the late Thelma W. Smith of Natchez and the late Rev. Godfrey Daniels and Mrs. Donnie Daniels, both of Itta Bena. Smith is the proud mother of three daughters, Lexus La’Kayrtra, Camry Chloe’ and Layla Londyn.

Smith is a graduate of Alcorn State University, where she received a bachelor’s and a master’s of science in secondary education. She is employed with AJFC as a family resource/social worker.

Smith is the author of the book titled “Surviving a Thousand Deaths,” and “The Glennese Smith Scott Story,” which was published Aug. 16, 2011.

She is an active member of the Rose Hill Missionary Baptist Church. Her hobbies are spending time with family, writing, watching television, shopping and motivating others.

Duchess Tonia Yvette Carroll

Duchess Tonia Yvette Carroll is the youngest of five children and was born in New Orleans to Beulah and James Carroll Sr.

Carroll is the mother of two children, 16-year-old old Justin and 2-year old Jabré.

Carroll is a 1992 graduate of Walter Carroll High School in New Orleans. In 1994, she attended Delgado Community College, where she received a certified nurse assistant’s license and furthered her studies at the Nursing Assistance Network Association College in New Orleans where she received her pharmacy tech license in 1996.

Prior to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Carroll was employed at the New Orleans Council on Aging. She then relocated in Natchez for two years. Later Tonia moved back to New Orleans where she was employed as assistant at the New Orleans Council on Aging.

She is a member of Richland Baptist Church in Churchhill.

She enjoys traveling, shopping and spending time with her family and friends.

Duke Antonio Ranklin Sr.

Duke Antonio Ranklin Sr. is a lifelong resident of Fayette. He is the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Lenon “Doc” Ranklin. Ranklin is married to Yolonda Colenberg Ranklin. He is the proud father of three children, TiKirrya, Aniyah and Antonio II. He is a 1992 graduate of Jefferson County High School. Ranklin attended Alcorn State University.

Ranklin is employed with Entergy Operations Inc. as an armed nuclear officer. He is a member of the Taylor’s Chapel Baptist Church. Ranklin’s hobbies are football, drag racing, horseback riding and spending time with family and friends.

Duke Anthony Davis

Duke Anthony Davis is a native of Natchez. He is the son of Johnnie B. Davis and the late Wardell Hill. Davis is a 1991 graduate of Natchez High School. Immediately after graduation, he joined and served seven years with the 155th Infantry Battalion of Natchez. Davis is married to Neashion Davis. He has four children, Deja Davis, TaMaya Crawford, Gabriel Davis and TriAnthones Davis.

Davis is employed by Natchez Walmart Supercenter as a service supervisor over Tire & Lube Express. He is a member of the St. Peter’s Baptist Church and Krewe of Mer, for which he serves as a committee chair. Davis is also a loyal Philadelphia Eagles fan. Davis’ hobbies are having fun, watching sports and gaming with family and friends. He lives by the motto, “If you work hard, play hard.”