Krewe of Phoenix announces 2018 royalty

Published 12:03 am Sunday, January 7, 2018

NATCHEZ — The Krewe of Phoenix recently announced its royalty and theme for the 2018 Mardi Gras season.  This year’s Mardi Gras will have a “South of the Border” motif.

The Krewe celebrated with its invitation-only King and Queen’s Ball and Twelfth Night Celebration on Jan. 6 at the Natchez Community Center with a theme of “Havana Nights.”

The Annual Call Out Ball will be from 8 p.m. to midnight on Jan. 20 at the Natchez City Auditorium. Doors open at 7 p.m. and non-member tickets are $15, with a cash bar.

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The Krewe of Phoenix Parade will be at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9, in downtown Natchez.  The Grand Ball, the Krewe of Phoenix’s Mardi Gras season culmination, will be the following evening, Feb. 10.  Doors will open at 8 p.m. at the Natchez Convention Center and tickets are $65 for non-members.

The 2018 Krewe of Phoenix Royalty are:

Rosalie XXXVI Donna Corley Sessions

A native of Greenwood, Donna Corley Sessions became a Natchez resident in 1996.

Donna is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she received a bachelor of business administration in banking and finance. While at Mississippi State, she served as corresponding secretary for the sorority Alpha Delta Pi, as treasurer of Hathorn Hall, as a member of the business sorority Phi Chi Theta and as a staff member of the Reveille yearbook. Donna works as an account executive with Bluffs and Bayous magazine.

Donna is extremely active in the community in numerous civic and professional organizations, having served on the technology committee for Cathedral High School, as a current member and past president of the Natchez Trace Kiwanis Club, and as the secretary of the MSU Alumni Association for Adams, Franklin  and Wilkinson Counties. One role that Donna is especially passionate about is serving as chairman of The Preservation Society of Ellicott Hill for The Natchez Garden Club, a role in which Donna is grant facilitator for the second phase of the renovation and restoration of Magnolia Hall.

Donna has been married to Woodville native Tim Sessions, who served as Rex XXXI, since 1982. The Sessions family resided in Woodville until their move to Natchez. Donna and Tim are the proud parents of two daughters, Corley Anne Sessions Ross, who resides in Vicksburg with her husband, Jacob, and Mary Frances Sessions, a freshman at Mississippi State University.  Donna and Tim also have one granddaughter, Brooklynn Ross. The Sessions are members of Trinity Episcopal Church.

When not working or volunteering, Donna can be found in either Starkville cheering on the MSU Bulldogs or at Lake St. John on the pontoon boat.

In lieu of gifts, Rosalie XXXVI respectfully requests donations be made to The Preservation Society of Ellicott Hill in her honor.

Rex XXXVI Raul Pete Cantu

Raul Pete Cantu is a Natchez resident and graduated from Newellton High School. He was born in Kingsville, Texas, and lived in and around Texas before settling down in Natchez.

Before becoming a licensed contractor, Pete was also the owner and operator of the beloved Cantina Restaurant in downtown Natchez from 1987 through 1992.

Community service has been a hallmark of Pete’s life here in Natchez. He helped found the annual Chili Cook-Off on the Natchez Bluff, the Natchez Youth Soccer League, and the Gamblers Soccer Team. Pete has a love for Mardi Gras, which is obvious by his involvement in the Natchez Mardi Gras scene for over 20 years. Being a founding member of the former Mystic Krewe of Alpheus, Pete served as President before reigning as King Alpheus X in 2001. Most recently, Pete’s Mardi Gras involvement has included serving on the Krewe of Phoenix board of directors as the float chairman for the past five years.

Pete is married to Renee Stegall Cantu, Duchess Marguerite Theresa de Limos 2017. They have one daughter Kayce Smith, Duchess Eliza Lowe Little 2013, and son-in-law, Alan Smith, of Covington, La. He is also the proud grandfather to Hayes Ryan Smith, who will be serving as his royal page this year.

Pete is the son of Esperanza Cantu and the late Jose Guadalupe Cantu of Riveria, Texas.

Pete is an avid chef who loves entertaining his family and friends. He is also a faithful New Orleans Saints fan and a communicant of St. Mary’s Minor Basilica.

Duchess La Glorieuse – Katelee Laird

Katelee Laird, a Natchez resident, graduated from Cathedral High School in 2010 and Louisiana State University in 2014.  While at LSU, Katelee studied painting, drawing and graphic design while receiving her bachelor’s degree in fine arts with a minor in art history.

Katelee’s career initially began with her focus being in the graphic design field while she pursued painting and drawing as a side job. Recently, Katelee has taken her artist career full time and now paints commissioned artwork.

Katelee is an active member of the Natchez Young Professionals and enjoys volunteering for the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society, including helping with their 2016 and 2017 “Witches Ride.” In 2016, Katelee created the winning design for the 2016 Great Mississippi River Balloon Race.

Katelee is the daughter of Bruce and Nancy Laird.

When she isn’t in her studio, she enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Duke Great Sun – Scott Wesberry

Scott Wesberry lives in Woodville. He is a graduate from Mississippi State University, where he obtained a degree in forestry and wildlife biology.

Scott is employed by Fred Netterville Lumber Company as Sales Manager, a position that includes international sales for Hardwoods of America.

Scott is proudly serving as president of the Southwestern Hardwood Manufacturers Club during its centennial anniversary. Currently, Scott is the president of the Woodville/Wilkinson County Main Street Association and the president of the Southwest Mississippi Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, while also serving on the board of the South Mississippi Economic Partnership. He is a member of Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity and has served as chairman for the Woodville Deer and Wildlife Festival.

Scott is married to Sharon Doescher Wesberry. They have two beautiful children, Carter, 9, and Helen Claire, 5. The Wesberry family attends St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Woodville.

Scott is the son of Greg and Jane Ann Wesberry, also of Woodville.

In his spare time, Scott enjoys family time, working cattle, baling hay, cooking, sunset cruises on Lake Mary, timber sports, tai chi and learning Mandarin.

Duchess Marie Therese – Lauren Burns

Currently residing in downtown Lafayette, La., Lauren Burns is a Natchez native, where she was a 2003 graduate of Cathedral High School.

In 2007, Lauren graduated from Mississippi State University where she received her bachelor’s degree in risk management, insurance and financial planning and was an inductee into the MSU Hall of Fame. She attends the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University, serving as vice president for the Class of 2018. Lauren is employed by The Evangeline Bank & Trust Company in Ville Platte, La., as assistant vice president – Bank Secrecy Act officer.

Lauren is an active member of the Junior League of Lafayette, The 705, the Kappa Delta Alumnae Chapter of Acadiana, and the Natchez Garden Club. Lauren also serves as the social media/newsletter chairman for the Krewe of Phoenix and was also recently chosen to be a member of the Leadership Lafayette Class XXXI.  Previously, Lauren has been involved in various leadership roles with the Natchez Young Professionals, the 2016 Leadership Natchez Class, the MSU Alumni Association for Adams, Franklin and Wilkinson counties and the Natchez Area KD Alumnae Chapter.

Lauren is the daughter of Max and Julia Burns.

In her free time, Lauren enjoys relaxing with family and friends, watching college sports and learning about her new home of Lafayette.

Duke of Versailles – James Brown

James Brown currently serves as assistant vice president and manager of the Delta Bank Natchez office. James is a native of Natchez and a graduate of Cathedral High School. He attended Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Natchez where he earned an associate’s degree and later attended Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La., where he earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration. He currently attends the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University and is set to graduate next June.

James is a graduate of the Leadership Natchez Class of 2013. He is a member of the Natchez Rotary Club, Natchez Young Professionals, Copiah-Lincoln Community College Advisory Board for the business and marketing management program, Home Builder’s Association where he serves as a board member, Santa Claus Committee and also serves on the board of the Natchez – Adams Chamber of Commerce. He resides in Natchez with his wife Amy and their two children, James and Julia.

Prior family royalty includes his mother Duchess La Glorieuse 2009, Andrea Bradford, and his stepfather Duke of Versailles 2007, Ray Bradford.

Duchess Panmure – Sidney McLeod

Sidney McLeod was born and raised in Natchez. Upon graduating from Trinity Episcopal Day Scool she moved to Oxford. There she attended the University of Mississippi where she was a member of the Delta Gamma fraternity. Since, she has returned to Natchez and has spent the last three years working at Natchez Dental Arts as a pediatric dental assistant. Sidney is the daughter of Danny and Angela McLeod.

Duke Monfort Browne – Joseph Mardini

Joseph Mardini is a native of Montreal, Canada. He received his bachelor of science at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Maryland. While in college, Joseph majored in biochemistry, biology and chemistry.

After moving back home to Montreal in 2010, Joseph then attended the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, where he earned his DDS degree. Following graduation from dental school, Joseph pursued a one year residency at the University Medical Center in Jackson. Joseph is a general dentist and has been working at Miss-Lou Family Dentistry for over a year.

Joseph is the son of Charles and Nora Mardini. Joseph is a member of St. Mary Minor Basilica Catholic Church.

When not at work, Joseph can be found training for and running ultra-marathons, traveling, playing classical piano and teaching beginner level piano.

Duchess Marguerite Theresa de Limos – Susannah Byrne Heatherly

A Natchez native, Susannah Byrne Heatherly is a graduate of Trinity Episcopal School Day School. She graduated from the University of Mississippi with a bachelor of arts in art history and arts administration and attended graduate school at the University of Memphis. She is the elementary and high school art teacher at Trinity where she is also the advisor for the National Honor Society and the yearbook.  She was also named 2017 STAR Teacher at Trinity.

Susannah is an active member of the Pilgrimage Garden Club where she has served on numerous committees. She is a member of the Kappa Delta Sorority Alumni Association, University of Mississippi Alumni Association (past president), Garden Clubs of Mississippi and Arts Natchez. She is also an active member of the Natchez Little Theatre and has been on stage in numerous productions.

Susannah is married to Wade Heatherly, Duke Manuel Gayoso de Lemos 2005. They have three children, Wesley, Carolyne, and Byrne. They are members of St. Mary Basilica. She is also the daughter of Paul and Janice Byrne. She enjoys spending lots of family time at the beach, swimming, art, theater and raising awareness for autism and type 1 diabetes.

Duke Manuel Gayosa de Limos – Brian Lott

Brian Lott is a native of Cleveland and a resident of Brandon. After graduating from Cleveland High School, Brian attended Mississippi College where he played baseball while receiving his bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing.  Brian has been a residential mortgage lender for more than 18 years and is currently the assistant vice president of Nola Lending Group based out of Mandeville, La.

Brian is a member of the Knights of Columbus, BNI and the Chamber of Commerce of Flowood. He also volunteers annually with the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race in Natchez.
Brian is married to Rachel Price Lott, formally of Natchez. They have two sons, Alex and Andrew. Brian and his family are members of St. Paul Catholic Church in Flowood.

Duchess Eliza Lowe Little – Deana White Mabry

Deana White Mabry, of St. Joseph, La., was born in Natchez and grew up in St. Joseph, where she graduated from Tensas Academy in 1993. She attended Northeast Louisiana University before graduating from Grambling State University in 1998 with a bachelor of science in nursing. In 2010, Deana received a master of science in nursing from Alcorn State University.  Deana is currently employed as a certified family nurse practitioner at both the Natchez Pediatric Clinic and the Natchez After Hours Clinic.

Deana is an active member in the USTA tennis leagues. She also enjoys running, exercising, and hunting. Deana loves being with her family and can be found spending most of her weekends following her youngest son around while he is playing travel baseball.

Deana is married to Will Mabry and they have two sons, Kayd and Will. She is an active member of Maryland Baptist Church.

Deana is the daughter of Jimmy and Sandra White of St. Joseph.

Duke of Monmouth – Shane Young

Hartwell Shane Young was born in Natchez and raised on a farm in Monterey. He has worked in the oilfield industry since he graduated from Monterey High School.  Shane is employed by Chevron and works as a lead drill site manager in their Deepwater Division.

Shane enjoys golfing, water skiing, snow skiing, team roping and spending time with his friends and family.

Shane and his wife, Amanda Young, share four children together, Logan, Kinslee, Hadlee and Brenlee Young.

Shane is the son of Eugene and Sheri Young and the late Jennifer Young.

Duchess Varina Howell Davis – Hannah Smith Mason

Hannah Mason resides in Lafayette, La., with her husband, Duke Great Sun XXVI, Marcus Mason and their three children, Max, Charlie and Margaret. She is the granddaughter of the late Mrs. Margaret Moss and Rex III, Dr. George Moss, and the daughter of Helen and Randy Smith of Natchez.

Hannah considers Natchez her hometown and loves to return for any and all reasons and of course to serve as Duchess Varina Howell Davis XXXVI. She most adores being a mother and homemaker, but also is an artist working in all sorts of mediums and recently began a business of consigning furniture and decor with her company Habney House. She volunteers in the community at her children’s school, with Junior League of Lafayette, and serves as secretary for the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra and Conservatory and chairs the young professionals committee there. She is an out-of-town member of the Natchez Garden Club, a member of the Acadiana Symphony Women’s League and the Women’s Energy Network. In her spare time she works on business development, community outreach and social media for her family’s company, Smith Mason & Co.

When she’s in Natchez, you can find her visiting family and friends, walking on the bluff with her children or the Walkie Talkies, playing tourist with out of town friends she’s brought or eating Darby’s fudge.

Duke Jefferson Davis – Joseph “Jake” Webber

Joseph Jake Webber was born in Natchez and raised in Ferriday. After living in Baton Rouge, for 10 years, he now calls Natchez his home since relocating here in 2013. He has been a family nurse practitioner for over 19 years and is currently in practice at Ferriday Family Health Center in Ferriday.

Jake attended Louisiana State University where he was a member of Theta Xi Fraternity. During his time there, he was called up to active service in the U.S. Army while serving in the Louisiana National Guard. He is a veteran of the first Gulf War serving in Operation Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia. After his discharge, he graduated from the University of Louisiana Monroe with a bachelor of arts degree. He also has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Alcorn State University. He is a graduate of The American Associates of Aesthetic Medicine and Surgery in Beverly Hills, Calif., a former graduate and speaker for The Bayer Institute at New Haven, Conn., for hypertension and diabetes research and a former member and speaker for Diabetes Collaborative sponsored by the University of Chicago.

Jake has a son, Alec, and a daughter, Caroline Bordelon, along with his twin grandsons, Eli and Eric.

Jake is the son of Joe and Carole Webber, life-long residents of the area who live at Lake St. John.

Jake is a proud member of Natchez Run Club and in his spare time enjoys spending time with his family, running, hiking, hunting, cooking, playing guitar and traveling.