Former king enjoys Mardi Gras season

Published 12:03 am Monday, February 13, 2012

ROD GUAJARDO/The Natchez Democrat — Bill Godfrey, right, and Rose Godfrey decorate for Mardi Gras at their Washington Street house. Bill was the Krewe of Phoenix’s King Rex XV in 1997 and the couple still participates in the Mardi Gras festivities every year.

NATCHEZ — Rose Godfrey admits she has a special love for parades, balloons and circuses. That means this time of year — Mardi Gras, with its blend of bedazzled, modernized cavalcades and carnival atmosphere — is one she particularly enjoys.

When The Dart found Rose and her husband Bill Godfrey on Washington Street Friday afternoon, their house was decorated for the season. And it makes sense that it would be — Bill said the couple has been going to the local parades and balls for the last 30 years.

“You get to see a lot of old friends, and — of course — you know Natchez is a party town,” Rose said.

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Bill agreed, saying, “It’s all a lot of local people putting out a lot of effort, so it’s wonderful.”

Having been a part of the Mardi Gras scene for some time, Rose said Natchez’s celebrations, which are for the most part still limited to local people, have gotten better through the years.

“We have got so many krewes now, it’s getting really good,” she said.

The couple has had their time in the Mardi Gras limelight. In 1997, Bill was the Krewe of Phoenix’s King Rex XV.

The theme of the krewe that year was “Land of a Thousand Dances,” and that meant Bill had to take part in a skit where he dressed up as one of the village people, the sailor. Though he’s not likely to break it out, Bill said he’s still got the sailor’s uniform.

“All of the dukes and duchesses that year, they were really good, and of course the practices were really fun,” he said.

They don’t make it to every party or ball anymore, but the Godfreys said they ride the float with the Krewe of Krazies, and they make sure to catch the city’s walking parade, the mystic Krewe de Who, which always marches past their house.

“They always stop and toast champagne before they move on,” Rose said. “You don’t know who they are, but of course you do — you wave, say, ‘Hello, how are you?’”

The point of it all, the whole Natchez Mardi Gras season, is just to have a good time with local people.

“(Mardi Gras) is really a fun thing to do,” Rose said.