Brakenridge reigns as PGC king

Published 12:17 am Sunday, March 26, 2017


NATCHEZ — Growing up, Ferriday’s Chase Brakenridge said his mother was so involved in the Pilgrimage Garden Club that much of his life was spent in Natchez.

When he was named the 2017 Pilgrimage Garden Club King, not only was Brakenridge achieving a goal he had set in as a Cathedral High School student, but he was also appreciative for all the hard work his mother, Georgeanne, had put in over the years.

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“My mom has been doing stuff for the Pilgrimage Garden Club since before my younger sister (Lansing) was even born,” said Brakenridge. “I was honored when they asked me, but also grateful, mostly grateful for all the stuff my mom has done for me to be able to be here. She is the whole reason I am here doing this.”

Brakenridge, 21, said  he immediately acceopted when he was asked to be king, which was the opposite of what happened back in second grade when he was asked to be the ring bearer for the marriage of Jefferson Davis in the Historic Natchez Tableaux.

“I got into the car in the Cathedral carpool, and mom says, ‘You were asked to be the ring bearer.’ I said, ‘No thanks, I don’t have a bear costume,’” Brakenridge said, laughing.

Once he realized he didn’t need a bear costume, Brakenridge did agree to be ring bearer. He also participated in Little Maypole, Big Maypole, Polka and Soireé.  During his senior year of high school, Brakenridge danced lead in Soireé.

“Honestly, I loved it,” Brakenridge said. “I thought it was a great way for me to branch out and meet other kids in Natchez from different schools. It gave me a lot of friends, and I enjoyed every minute of it.”

While he lived on Lake Concordia near Ferriday with his mother, sister and father Charles, Brakenridge said he basically grew up in Natchez.

“Pilgrimage meant a lot to me growing up,” he said. “Whenever I was younger, it did not mean as much, but when I became older, it meant a lot.

“I think it helped me grow and made me more outgoing. It helped me care about Natchez more. Ferriday was my home, but my whole life was in Natchez.”

The uniform Brakenridge is wearing was modeled after the one worn last year by Pilgrimage Garden Club King Ashton Baker, which was a reproduction from Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan’s outfit. The wool coat is grayish-blue with an off-white collar and gold trimmings with Waterbury CS officer buttons. The uniform was made by C&D Jarnigan Company, a maker of Civil War reproduction clothing located in Corinth.

The sword, which also comes from the Jarnigan Company, has a floral pattern on the hilt and has a CSA insignia and Rebel flag on the blade.

Brakenridge, who studies business administration at Louisiana State University,  hopes to pursue a master’s of business administration or a law degree and looks forward to being back in Natchez.

“I’m pretty excited about my royal ball, all the parties and getting to hang out with all my court and all the people I grew up with,” Brakenridge said. “It’s going to be a great experience for me.”