Fourth of July festivities rain down on Miss-Lou

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 5, 2015

Despite wet conditions Saturday, the Fourth of July firework show along the Mississippi River still happened. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Despite wet conditions Saturday, the Fourth of July firework show along the Mississippi River still happened. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Rain could not stop the Natchez area from celebrating July 4.

Despite overcast skies, as well as rain and occasional thunder and lightning throughout the day, celebrations continued as planned.

In the afternoon, 21 boats took part in the Lake St. John Flotilla to receive a blessing and showcase their creativity.

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Each boat was sprinkled with holy water by the Rev. Paul Kunnumpuram from St. Patrick’s Church in Ferriday, assisted by Austin Matthew Burns, a seminarian for the Diocese of Alexandria.

Close by, Danielle Gaudé sat down on the pier while her husband, Kurt Gaudé and two sons, Gray Gaudé, 17, and Ian Gaudé, 14, played in the water and socialized.

Danielle Gaudé and her family live in Newnan, Ga. They often come to visit family for holidays like July 4, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“I didn’t grow up in Natchez, but I feel like I might as well have,” Gaudé said.

She likes coming to visit, giving her family a chance to catch up.

“It’s a good time,” she said.

Meanwhile, James Craft, 7, watched the flotilla with his parents, Angela and Danny McLeod. His mother said he attended every year since he was born.

This year, it was easy for Craft to pick a favorite.

“The Yeti was my favorite,” Craft said.

The Yeti Cooler boat by Becky Savoy, was designed to look like a Yeti Cooler, complete with ice.

It would go on to win first prize in the non-patriotic category, one of four different categories. The other three categories were large patriotic craft, small craft and an overall winner for the event.

The overall winner was Drew Loomis and crew’s boat “Ferris Bueller.”

The first prize for the patriotic category went to Kathy Rowze’s “Happy Birthday” boat.

Second place was Kippy Blaney’s “Red Neck Yacht.” Third place was awarded to Kim Evans’ entry, “Miss Jordyn.”

For the non-patriotic category, second place was awarded to Cissy Pace’s, “Louisiane.”

John and Linda Alwood’s “NOLA Cool Jazz” entry earned third place.

For the small craft category, Ed and Laura Godfrey’s entry won first place with Felton Dupree’s boat claiming second.

Once the flotilla was over, Craft started to look forward to the fireworks on Lake St. John.

But over on the Mississippi River, another firework show was underway at the same time.

Although initially threatened by thunder and lightning, the fireworks went ahead as planned.

People crowded the bluff, huddled under umbrellas and raincoats to watch the show.

Shameka Veal brought her daughters, Samesia Veal, 7, and Saleyah Veal, 5, out to see the show.

“We live in the city limits and we can’t shoot fireworks,” Veal said.

That means the rain posed a potential problem to Veal and her family.

“I thought they were going to cancel it,” Veal said.