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Couple reigns over upcoming Mardi Gras festivities

King Antonio L. Rankin and Queen Yolonda Colenberg Rankin will reign over the Krewe of Mer's festivities this year.

King Antonio L. Rankin and Queen Yolonda Colenberg Rankin will reign over the Krewe of Mer’s festivities this year.

The Krewe of Mer is set to showcase its royal court at its 22nd annual Mardi Gras grand ball. This year’s theme will take many guests down memory lane and have them dancing in their seats as Mer presents “Down Home Blues.”

The krewe captain, Nicole A. Bell, cautions all persons attending the ball to be prepared to have a “Wang Dang Doodle” of a good time because “The Blues Are Alright” all night.

The 2014 King Anthony Davis and Queen Neashion Davis will crown Krewe of Mer’s 2015 king and queen — Antonio L. Rankin and Yolonda C. Rankin. The Mardi Gras grand ball will be 8 p.m. Saturday at the Natchez Convention Center. The doors will open at 7 p.m. The attire is tuxedos and floor-length gowns.

King Antonio L. Rankin

Antonio Len Rankin is a lifelong resident of Fayette. He is the only son of Lenon “Doc” and Helen Rankin. Antonio is married to Yolonda Colenberg Rankin, and he is the father of three children, TiKirrya, Aniyah and Antonio II.

He is a graduate of Jefferson County High School and attended Alcorn State University.

He is employed with Entergy Operations Inc. as an armed nuclear officer.

Rankin is a member of Taylor’s Chapel Baptist Church. His hobbies are watching football, drag racing, horseback riding and spending time with family and friends.

Queen Yolonda Colenberg Rankin

Yolonda Colenberg Rankin is the eldest child of Joyce Chambers and Isaac P. Colenberg Sr. She is the wife of Antonio L. Rankin and mother of two children, Aniyah Yoshé and Antonio Lenon.

A 1996 graduate of Jefferson County High School, Rankin also attended Jackson State University, where she studied English education.

She enjoys reading, crafting, traveling and spending time with family and friends. Rankin works as nuclear contractor for System One Services and Quality Nuclear Services.

Captain Nicole A. Bell

Nicole A. Bell is employed at Alcorn State University as a food safety and agribusiness specialist. She has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and master’s degree in agriculture from Alcorn. She also has a master’s degree in food safety from Michigan State University.

Bell is a member at the Jerusalem Baptist Church No. 2 in Kingston and the Lucinda Robinson Chapter No. 6 Order of Eastern Star.

She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated Zeta Delta Omega Chapter. Bell has been a member of the Krewe for 12 years and was the Queen of the Night as Mer goes to Hollywood in 2006. She is the daughter of Roy Bell and the late Minnie Granger Bell, sister of Frances Bell, and aunt of Faith and Hope. Her philosophy of life is “Aspire to inspire before you expire.”

Duchess Jarita F. King

Jarita Frazier King is married to Roderick D. King and is the mother of four daughters, Jakerria, Gabrielle, Senia and Skylar. She is the daughter of Billie Joe and Shirley Frazier. King is employed as an expanded food and nutrition educator (EFNEP) with the Alcorn State University Extension Program. She is also a certified water safety instructor and the owner of Vixen’s Corner Lingerie — Gift Adult Novelty Shop.

King has an associate’s degree in surgical technology from Virginia College in Jackson and will graduate from Alcorn State University on May 9, 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in advanced technology for the health administration and industry tech.) King is also pursuing a master’s degree in healthcare administration. She is a member of the Word of Faith Ambassadors Worship Center. She is also a member of the Edna Anderson Chapter No. 11 Order of Eastern Star, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and a member of the Association of Black Engineers, Scientists and Technologists (ABEST). King was the 2008 Queen as the Krewe of Mer presented “Coming to America” and has held several positions, including Krewe president. King loves to spend time with her girls and lend a helping hand in the community and help her clients to capture and hold those very first-time moments.

Duchess Willye Bea Scott-Robinson

Willye Bea Scott-Robinson is a native of Natchez and resides in Greenville. She is a retired educator with 37 years of experience. Scott-Robinson is a graduate of Sadie V. Thompson High School in Natchez and has a bachelor’s degree in social studies from Mississippi Valley State University and a master’s degree in special education from Delta State University.

Scott-Robinson is an active member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church of Greenville, where she serve as a lector. She is also a lifetime member of the Mississippi Association of Educators, Lifetime Member of Mississippi Valley State University Alumni Association, Member of Mississippi Valley State Hall of Fame Alumni, Delta State Alumni Association, Retired Teachers Association, NAACP and Homemakers Club of Greenville.

Scott-Robinson is a member of the Gamma Iota Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., where she serves as parliamentarian. She has been a member of the Krewe of MER for five years. Her hobbies are reading, traveling and spending time with family and friends Scott-Robinson’s philosophy of life is “Treat as others as you would want them to treat you.” She is married to Joseph Robinson of Belzoni and has one goddaughter, Ashley Henry Walton, and two handsome god-grandchildren, Jordan and Tristen.

Duchess Tracy Smith

Tracy L. Fitzgerald Smith is a graduate of North Natchez High School, home of the Mighty Rams, and Alcorn State University. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in school counseling at Alcorn. Smith is employed at the Open Air MRI of the Miss-Lou.

She is married to Eric T. Smith and they have six children, Jordan, Erielle, Jalyn, Eric Christian, Ryan and London. She attends Fourth Street Church of Christ. Smith is a member of the Krewe of Mer, where she served in various positions. She is also a member of the National Counselors Association of American, Seventh District Quettes and YPIA Society in Churchhill. Her hobbies include, tailgating with the ASU Braves, shopping, fashion design and interior decorating, as well as hanging out with friends. Smith’s philosophy of life is “fill what is empty, empty what is full and scratch what itches…the rest is not important.”

Duke Linton Fitzgerald III

Linton Fitzgerald is married to LeSheva Jackson Fitzgerald and is the father of Linton Deqwan and Jaleya. He is employed with the Jefferson County Sheriff Office in Fayette. Fitzgerald is a member of Richland Missionary Baptist Church. He is a graduate of Natchez High School and is majoring in criminal justice at Alcorn State University. Fitzgerald is a member of the Surgeon Masonic Lodge No. 304 of Church Hill and YPIA Society of Church Hill. His hobbies includes watching sports, entertaining guests and spending time with family and friends.

Duke Bradrick Ware

Bradrick Edward Ware is a native of Los Angeles and has lived in Natchez since 1986. He is a graduate of John C. Fremont High School in Los Angeles. Ware is the son of Mr. James E. Ware and the late Ruby M. Ware. He is married to Ursula Brooks-Ware, and together they have three children, Gervoni, Brandi and Kobyn. He has three grandchildren, Kobe, Tobias and Geyonni.

Ware is the founder and owner of Action Tire and Detail and Ware’s Trucking, where he is a contracted employee. He is a deacon and member of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church. He is an active member of Rivergate Bowling Center’s various leagues and All-Star Lanes of Baton Rouge. He also serves on the Rivergate Bowl executive board. He is a two-time singles city champion and has won more than 10 team bowling championships. His interests include going to church, bowling, playing basketball, spending time with his family and participating in fantasy football. He is a diehard Los Angeles Lakers and Atlanta Falcons fan. His philosophy in life is based on Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”