CELEBRATING ROYALTY: 2022 Natchez Garden Club king, queen end season with gala

Published 11:00 am Saturday, November 26, 2022

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The 2022 Natchez Garden Club Magnolia Festival Ball brought new beginnings for the Natchez Garden Club.  The first Debutante season began with the selection of King Donald Conerly Branton and Queen Maggie Caroline Ulmer, who were crowned as the newest of NGC Royalty.

Joining them as the inaugural debutante court were Abigail Lynn Branton, Joanna Marjorie Johnston, Catherine Fisher Iseminger, William Chandler Johnson, Ethan Trisler Huff, Bankston Curtis Jordan and Griffin Legenre Hootsell.

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As their season winds to an end, the king and queen will be celebrated at a gala in their honor this weekend.

The Natchez Garden Club has been an integral part of both of their lives. They are the children and grandchildren of second-and third-generation members who have participated in its many community service-oriented projects and assisted in raising working funds to continue the beautification of its properties.

Conner’s grandmother, Lynette Tanner, has served on the Magnolia Festival Committee since its creation.

Maggie is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William R. Ulmer II and the granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. William R. Ulmer I of Centreville; the late Mr. and Mrs. Jacob W. Walker of Rayville, Louisiana; and Mr. And Mrs. Jack Pope Jr. of Monroe, Louisiana.

She graduated from Cathedral High School in 2019. Maggie served as a Green Wave cheerleader; was a member of the homecoming court; and was nominated as one of the most admired her senior year. She is a junior at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, majoring in business administration with a minor in political science. She is a member of Phi Mu Sorority, an active member of Campus Outreach, and is a supporter of La Bonner Children’s Hospital.

She enjoys participating in many organizations across campus, working and competing in pageants, and looks forward to traveling the world “and making a positive impact where I can.”

“Being chosen as the Natchez Garden Club Queen has been a lifelong dream,” she said. “I have grown up admiring those who were chosen in the past and understanding the importance they have held in representing the Natchez Garden Club and our beautiful city.  There is no place like Natchez and to be chosen and be able to represent it in this way is such an honor.”

Connor is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Woody Townsend of Natchez and Mr. Donald Branton of Ferriday, Louisiana. He is the grandson of Mrs. Lynette Tanner of Frogmore, Louisiana, and the late Mr. Buddy Tanner; Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Branton of Ferriday; and Mrs. Tamara King and the late Jerry King of Monticello.

He graduated from Cathedral High School in 2018, where he was a member of the high school baseball and basketball teams. He studied at the University of Northwestern Ohio in high-performance automotive technology and is currently majoring in software development through the MCA program at Mississippi State University. He enjoys the outdoors, electronics, muscle cars and LSU Football. “Geaux Tigahs.”

“I love the history of Natchez,” he said. “Growing up on our farm in Frogmore and sharing so much of that history with all of the people who traveled here to tour our beautiful city, I have always known what an honor it would be to represent the Natchez Garden Club as King. It is an experience I will never forget.”