PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

February 11, 2013

Rain fails to damper Mardi Gras' revelers

PORT ARTHUR — The whistling winds and ominous rain clouds proved to be a deterrent for some on Sunday, the final day of Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas 2013.

For some, like Denise Frederick of Port Arthur, the familiar carnival scents of corn dogs and funnel cakes overpowered the prospect of inclement weather. Denise and her husband Kirk have been attending Mardi Gras in Port Arthur since its inception 21 years ago.

“We both work in the city,” Denise said. “This is a good way to support the city.”

Denise and Kirk also knew they couldn’t keep their two children — daughter Delaney, 8, and son Dallas, 5 — at home if they tried.

“They love any kind of festival,” Denise said. “Just like their dad.”

“We’re riding everything we can — and then some,” Kirk added, stepping off the carousel with his son.

The rain held off long enough for the Munchkin Parade, which began at 2 p.m. inside the entertainment area on Procter Street. This was a tremendous relief to the Boys and Girls Club of Port Arthur who participated in the event.

“We were worried about the rain,” said Director Elonda LeDay. “But the kids had a good time. It gave them something extra to do.”

Would the weather have stopped their float in its tracks? No,  LeDay said.

“We’d have just been some wet Mardi Gras people,” she said, laughing.

Around 2:30 p.m., observers began to line the side of Procter Avenue for the truck parade, which was set to begin at 4 p.m. Belinda Duncan and Laura Williams, both of Port Arthur, came armed with umbrellas — and they weren’t budging from their lawn chairs.

“We just went and walked two blocks back to our car for these umbrellas,” said Duncan. “We’re staying.”

“Got to support our town,” agreed Williams.

However, shortly after 3 p.m., Duncan and Williams, along with other revelers, were forced to duck for cover as the rain began to fall. But the parade floats and their occupants remained firmly in place — although some of the Chevron Phillips riders donned sporting ponchos.

David Lemaire, who began riding in the parade with Chevron Phillips two decades ago, seemed too excited about returning to Mardi Gras to notice the dampness.

“Last year we didn’t get in,” Lemaire said. “So this is our first year back.

“We’re having a lot of fun,” he said. “This is for the kids.”

Email: ecallahan@panews.com

Twitter: ErinnPA

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