Chill on for Mardi Gras

Queen Chika Carbins-Johnson of the Krewe of Amani represented Lady Liberty in keeping with the theme, “Amani Takes a Bite Out of the Big Apple,” in Patterson Monday.
(the Daily Review Photo by Preston Gill)

The Krewe of Amani rolled Monday in Patterson with King Jerome Jennings Sr. at the head of the parade. He depicted Wall Street at the krewe’s annual ball held Saturday.
(The Daily Review Photo by Preston Gill)

A chilly afternoon greeted the Lundi Gras Krewe of Amani parade in Patterson. Despite the chill, Main Street was packed with parade watchers to catch the throws from the floats.
(The Daily Review Photo by Preston Gill)


Braving a stiff wind and chilly temperatures, Krewe of Amani parade watchers in Patterson were enthused and seemed to care little that the weather was not as mild as what accompanied the weekend parades.
Most took the temperatures, which barely passed 50 degrees, in stride with some saying they liked it that way.
Bethany Ganaway and her family set up in front of the First Baptist Church, which she says is their custom, nearly an hour before the parade reached her.
“I love the cold weather,” Ganaway said in a sentiment that was shared by many during the Lundi Gras revelry.
Deborah Gray was less enthused about the weather, saying she does not like the cold, but refused to let that put a chill on her enthusiasm as she looked west down Main Street waiting on the parade to arrive.
“I have been attending parades since they started in Patterson,” Gray said. “They have all been good. I am fixing to see how good this one will be.”
Chief of Police Patrick LaSalle fed and entertained about 40 police officers from Patterson, Berwick, Franklin, Baldwin and Jeanerette at his house along the route before the parade began.
“We will have a strong police presence in the city before, during and after the parade,” LaSalle said. He said later that there were no parade-related incidents to report.
The parade had not started for very long before it quit rolling before reaching City Hall. LaSalle said a parade vehicle toward the rear had stopped, which brought the entire parade to a halt. People kept looking up and down the street, attempting to understand what was happening. But, if there were grumblings of discontent, they did not seem to affect the party atmosphere.
Clarence Lightfoot Jr. said he is usually a driver in the parade but this year he was taking his place along the route.
“I get to sit down and see the parade from this end and holler at them to throw me something,” Lightfoot said with a laugh.
In addition to the typical floats, the Amani parade had fancy cars, four-wheelers and even a horse-riding contingent from New Iberia toward the rear.
There was no shortage of beads, with some floats throwing entire packages of beads in the direction of the crowd. While there did not appear to be as many stuffed animals as were thrown in earlier parades in Morgan City and Berwick, some were tossed that were as big as the children pleading for them.
Ronata Pilate said she loved bands in parades. There was plenty of music and signing coming from some of the floats, but she did not get to see any bands in Patterson. Yet, there were a lot of the other things she liked such as pretty beads and cups.
“I like big beads and pretty ones. I like Saints colors. If the beads are pretty I keep them if not I donate them somewhere,” Pilate said.
Monica Harvey was enjoying the parade and all of the Mardi Gras festivities while at the same time reminded that life goes on in an unsecure world. She said her thoughts were with her son who just returned stateside after his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.
“I wish he could be here with me. I haven’t seen my baby in two years,” Harvey said as she spoke of Staff Sgt. Trey Harvey who is serving a long way from his Patterson roots and stationed in Baltimore, Md.
But one particular veteran made a return appearance to Patterson as he pulled his 400-pound rickshaw into town again even gave a few watchers a brief ride.
Four months ago, he passed through Patterson on what he said was a trek from California to Miami, Fla., on which he relied on the generosity of strangers to support him along the way.
St. Mary Parish generosity has kept him in the parish since his Nov. 5 arrival. He said he is now bivouacked somewhere in Siracusaville.
Vendors selling toys, stuffed animals and novelties also contributed to the out-of-state presence in Patterson. Larry Linvelle, of Pigeon Ford, Tenn., and Ricky Rozas, of Philadelphia, Penn., were hawking their wares from mobile carts they pushed up and down Main Street before and ahead of the parade.
This is the second year Linvelle has made it to Louisiana to sell the novelties during Mardi Gras. He said he makes just enough money to cover his food and hotel bill, but it is a great way to be part of the fun and festivities.

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