Mardi Gras parades set to roll soon

Published 12:03 am Sunday, January 24, 2016

NATCHEZ — Mardi Gras is gearing up in the Miss-Lou, and three parades are scheduled for the next few weeks.

In Natchez, the annual parade by the Krewe of the Natchez Indians is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday and the Krewe of Phoenix parade is scheduled for 5 p.m. Feb. 5.

Curtis Moroney is the director for both parades. He has directed the Krewe of Phoenix parade in years past, but this year, his krewe is helping out their counterparts.

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“We’re just trying to help them out and keep the parade going,” Moroney said. “They’ll pick it right back up next year. It would be harder to get it going again if we didn’t have it, so we want to make it easier for them.”

The Krewe of Phoenix wanted to ensure both parades would go on this year partly because of the Tricentennial, Moroney said.

The Natchez Indians parade might have been canceled if the other krewe didn’t intervene.

“A lot of the same people that rode in the Phoenix parade will go in the Indians parade,” Moroney said. “So we’ll just make it happen.”

Both parades will use the same route. Some streets will be closed for the parades. Floats will line up on Broadway Street to prepare, then turn on Canal Street, up Main Street, Left on Rankin Street, left on Franklin Street, then return to Broadway Street.

Moroney said he would ask residents not to park on the west side of Broadway Street on parade days to facilitate preparations.

In Vidalia, the annual parade is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Feb. 6. The theme this year is “Hats off to emergency responders and leaders.”

Parade director Cassandra Lynch said she was inspired to dedicate this year’s parade to emergency responders because she had help several times in the last year.

“I am so thankful for the many times the city of Vidalia emergency responders came to my assistance and my mother’s,” Lynch said.

Lynch, a diabetic, was rescued twice last year when she lost consciousness. Her mother uses a wheelchair.

“My mother got very sick,” Lynch said. “I couldn’t get her up and down the steps. I called the emergency responders, and the police and fire came to my assistance.”

Lynch, a New Orleans native, said that kind of response impressed her and she wanted to show her gratitude.

“It’s kind of personal to me this year, but know a lot of people in Vidalia feel the same way.”

For Lynch, Mardi Gras is second only to Christmas.

“The parade is my baby, I gave birth to it,” Lynch said. “And I’m proud that each year it’s bigger and bigger.”

The Vidalia parade will begin at Vidalia Upper Elementary and proceed down Carter Street to Vidalia High School.

Lynch invites any interested parties to simply come and line up before the parade starts with their cars, motorcycles, four-wheelers, dance groups or anything they’d like to add to the parade.

Entrance is free and does not require prior registration.

“It’s free and open to anybody,” Lynch said. “But be respectful and put no one in harm’s way.”