Mardi Gras krewe announces royalty for 2019 season

Published 12:01 am Sunday, February 10, 2019

Special to the Democrat

NATCHEZ — The Krewe of Mer will host its 26th Annual Grand Mardi Gras Ball on Feb. 16, at the Natchez Convention Center. Guests will be entertained with splendid pageantry and pleasantries at the Krewe of Mer’s Jazz and Heritage Festival.  This theme celebrates vibrant jazz compositions while reveling in a legacy of greatness. As stated by Nina Simone, “Jazz is not just music, it’s a way of life,  it’s a way of being, a way of thinking.”  Guests will be singing and standing with eclecticism as the Krewe of Mer laissez le bon temp rouler.  The 2019 Royal Court will feature:

King Edwin Noris Hargrave

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King Edwin Noris Hargrave was born on March 5, 1993.  He is the son of Doris Hargrave and the late Eddie Hargrave, Jr. He is the sibling of Mizell (Nalia) Noble, Gloria (Calvin) McKnight, the late Eddie Hargrave III and the late Robert E. Hargrave.

He graduated from Natchez High School in 2011, where he was a member of the band.  Edwin attended Hinds Community College.

Edwin has been a resident of Baton Rouge for the last four years.  He is employed with SGS Chemical Petroleum Plant.  He has four years of experience in Decking and received his certification in ACBL. 

He enjoys spending time with his family and friends, mud riding, racing, collecting tennis shoes, shopping and traveling.  Edwin is a member of the Jerusalem Baptist Church of Natchez.

Queen Alma Rankin-Jones

Queen Alma Rankin-Jones is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lenon and Helen Rankin.  She is a faithful member of Taylor’s Chapel Baptist Church. Alma is an alumna of Alcorn State University, where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.  She also is a graduate of Jackson State University, where she received a specialist in educational leadership. She currently serves as the director of the Jefferson County Career and Technical Center.

Alma is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. — Zeta Delta Omega Chapter.  She also serves as the financial secretary of the Krewe of Mer.

She enjoys spending time with her nieces, TaKirrya, Akira and Aniyah, and her nephew, Antonio “Poppa.”  Also, as the youngest child, she loves to spend time with her older sisters, Angela and Yolonda, and her big brother, Antonio, especially during football season. 

As a lifelong learner and educator, Alma has a passion for education that resonates with John Dewey’s quote “education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” She has a mission to always learn and educate others. 

Captain Jarita Frazier-King

Jarita Frazier-King, a native of Natchez, is married to Mr. Roderick King.  She is the mother to four lovely daughters, Jakerria, Gabrielle, Senia and Ms. Skylar. She is grandmother to Little Miss Raylee.

Jarita is a 1995 graduate of Natchez High School. Jarita earned a bachelor of science degree in applied sciences (health care administration) from Alcorn State University. She is currently on course to complete her masters of science degree in workforce education leadership in summer 2019.

Jarita is employed as the interim family and consumer science specialist/nutrition program coordinator for the Alcorn State University Extension Department. Jarita is the owner of Natchez Heritage School of Cooking LLC in Natchez. Mrs. King is also the CEO of the Southwest Wellness Association of Mississippi.

Jarita and her family attend Word of Faith Ambassadors Worship Center. She is a member of several community, social clubs and business organizations such as: 100 Black Women–Adams County Chapter, Order of Eastern Stars – Edna Anderson Chapter No. 12, Natchez NAACP Adams County Branch, Hubb Network and Southern Food Alliances.

Jarita says that she is inspired by the words of the late Maya Angelo, “My Mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.”

Duchess Ameldia Carter

Duchess Ameldia Evans-Carter is the daughter of Willie and Irma Woods of Natchez.  She is the proud mother of two children, Chadwick Evans and Alvia Evans and grandmother to granddaughter Erin Tay’lor Washington. Ameldia is a 1981 graduate from Cathedral High School and a graduate of California College of Health Science. She is currently employed at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., as a registered  respiratory therapist. She resides in Dumfries, Virginia, with her husband Steven Carter. Ameldia attends First  Mount Zion Baptist Church and her hobbies includes cooking, baking, traveling and spending time with family and friends.

Duchess 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. Mrs. Rankin works as nuclear contractor for  Quality Nuclear Services.

An entrepreneur, Mrs. Rankin owns her event planning company, Divas & Dudes Creative Affairs LLC. She is also owner and operator of Dazzle Me Pretty Accessories. She enjoys reading, crafting, traveling and spending time with family and friends. Yolonda finds inspiration in the words of Madame CJ Walker, “Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” 

Duchess Nicole A. Bell

Duchess Nicole A. Bell is a food safety specialist with a bachelor of science in accounting and master of science in agriculture from Alcorn State University. She also has a master of science in food safety from Michigan State University. Bell is a member at the Jerusalem Baptist Church No. 2 in Kingston.

She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., where she serves as Zeta Delta Omega Chapter’s 2nd vice president and various regional committees. Bell is also a member of the Mississippi Metro Chapter of Blacks in Government (BIG). She has been a member of the krewe for 16 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 and Darnella, and aunt of Faith, Hope, and Denver. Her philosophy of life is “Aspire to inspire before you expire.”

Duke Charles E. Cothern, Sr.

Duke Charles Edward Cothern, Sr. graduated in the class of 1975 from East St. Louis Sr. High School. He received a bachelor of science degree in education in 1980 and a master of science degree in education from Alcorn State University in 1982.He also furthered his study at Delta State University and the University of Louisiana Monroe. Charles is a Deacon at Lagrange Baptist Church. He is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Charles is a basketball official with the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) and Southwest Association of basketball officials. Charles also volunteers as a coach for Special Olympics in Area 7. Charles is married to Patrice Cothern. They have one son, Charles Cothern Jr. and three grandchildren, Charles III, Channing and Shaniyia. Charles is a lifelong educator and coach. Charles is retired, but is currently employed part-time at the Jefferson County School District as an inclusion teacher. He is very passionate about our youth and often expresses the importance of education. Charles’ hobbies include: cooking, reading, and spending time with family. He lives by the motto, “ You will never get lessons on swimming from a drowning man!”

Duke Antonio Rankin

Antonio Len Rankin is a lifelong resident of Fayette. He is the only son and eldest child of Lenon “Doc” and Helen Rankin. Antonio is married to Yolonda Colenberg Rankin. He is the father of three children—TaKirrya (TK), Aniyah and Antonio II (Big Papa).

Antonio is a 1992 graduate of Jefferson County High School and attended Alcorn State University. He is employed with Entergy Operations Inc. as an armed nuclear officer. Mr. Rankin owns RANKeDANK Customs, where he makes custom tumblers and gifts. He is a member of the Taylor’s Chapel Baptist Church. His hobbies are watching football, drag racing, horseback riding and spending time with family and friends.