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Mardi Gras rolls on across Miss-Lou with drive-by house parade

NATCHEZ — The Krewe of Phoenix and Carrie Lambert, youth minister at St. Mary Basilica, are working to “laissez les bon temps rouler” — let the good times roll — amid the threat of COVID-19 by keeping the spirit of Mardi Gras alive in the Miss-Lou.

The Krewe of Phoenix is hosting a “Yardi Gras,” a Mardi Gras themed house decorating competition.

As the people of Natchez and Vidalia put away their Christmas decorations, they can replace them with purple, green and gold and enter a COVID-friendly contest to brighten spirits in the absence of a traditional Mardi Gras parade.

Lambert said she and the youth of St. Mary Basilica are working in conjunction with Jennifer Jones Smith of the Krewe of Phoenix to host “Mardi Gras Around Town,” a reverse parade of sorts where people in cars can drive by house floats with their windows rolled down and catch parade goodies.

The Krewe of Phoenix will be judging the houses on Feb. 13, Lambert said, adding the following Sunday afternoon, Feb. 14, from 12 to 2 p.m. is when some participating house owners will be tossing out treats.

“Not all of those locations on the list will be throwing things to people in their cars,” Lambert said. “This is going to be done safely, where all those who will be throwing things will be wearing masks and gloves and we’ve asked for all the items they are throwing to be put in individual sandwich bags so there is no touch.”

Participating houses will be scattered around the Natchez and Vidalia area depending on who signs up, Lambert said, adding anyone can join the fun.

“All of this is so that we will have a little bit of joy and uplifting in a time that we are usually standing in one place as the floats pass us by,” Lambert said. “Instead, we will be the ones passing by the house floats. … I’m always trying to pray and think of ways that we can live our faith and also have fun. I will be explaining the true history and meaning of Mardi Gras to my youth before we go out to the various houses.”

Lambert said the entry form to the house-decorating contest is posted on the Krewe of Phoenix Facebook page.

To be eligible for prizes, the form should be filled out and submitted along with a photo of your decorations to kreweofphoenixntz@gmail.com.

Those interested in entering a “house float” can contact Lambert via email at stmaryyouth@cableone.net.

A list of addresses with participating houses will be available at St. Mary’s Family Life Center and in St. Mary’s weekly bulletin, which is uploaded online at stmarybasilica.org Saturday before the event.

Lambert said homeowners should notify her by Feb. 10 so that she can update the list in time.

“Laissez les bon temps rouler,” Lambert said. “We hope everyone will safely drive around and then go home and enjoy some good New Orleans food and celebrate Mardi Gras.”

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