Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mardi Gras season brings convergence of personalities

Hotel lobbies are full of stories. While attending a local function I noted a Mardi Gras ball, wedding party and family gathering all at the same site. Then there were the actual lodgers. The elevator door opened to a barefoot couple. Each one had towels around the waist. They were apparently in search of the pool. Another couple who looked like they’d returned from the rodeo were getting on, as a woman in a fur stole and evening dress readied for the next ride.


Jan Walker is conjuring Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau for Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas, and she’s bringing her coconuts with her. Zulu Krewe of New Orleans is famous for these “throws” which are actually handed out. You just shouldn’t toss a coconut.

“Some friends and I sat down together one weekend at Paige Bigler's house on the bayou and set out to create our own special Southeast Texas version. If you're very lucky you may just score one during this years Royalty March!,” Walker, of Majestic Krewe of Aurora, said. Wayne Toups, Kevin Fowler, Geno Delafose, Jivin’ Gene Bourgeois and Ryan Foret are among performers set for concerts Feb. 16-19 in downtown Port Arthur. Lighted parades, a carnival and bead catching make this a family affair that draws revelers far and wide.

The Royalty March is set for 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18.

More info is at, and

Cat Scan a keeper

Krewe Mon Ami’s Mardi Gras Ball featured several Port Arthur YMCA attendees who got a work out on the dance floor. I met all sorts of guests from throughout the area, including Cat Scan, a local roller derby skater, who sports a team number of 911. People are fun.

Stephan Briscoe’s work is always at Texas Artists Museum. The permanent stained glass window honoring Challenger 13 has been at the museum since it opened. Briscoe’s later works are on display in February, including a large panel featuring Port Arthur’s favorite pink bird, the roseate spoonbill. His latest is a blue heron, also native to this area. He started it before the last hurricane, but his commission work for churches pushed it back. Briscoe has also been involved in an African ministry, teaching stained glass to students in Accra, on the west coast. An artists reception will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9 at the museum, 3501 Cultural Center Drive. Work by Slava Protopopov and Lou Handley will also be featured.

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