New MCCA royalty announced

Published 8:21 am Wednesday, December 9, 2015

James Dunaway has watched and waited for his time to be named MCCA (Magic City Carnival Association) King.

That time came this past Saturday when he was named MCCA XXXVI King at the unveiling at the American Legion Home.

“It’s quite an honor to be King, to say the least,” Dunaway said. “I’ve been associated with Mardi Gras since MCCA X. I never really wanted to be King. To me, I believe being a Duke is the best thing in MCCA because you get to associate with all the members and their guests.

“You get to go to every party, do a little dance and make the party happen. It all falls on the Duke to get the party started, besides being an awful lot of fun.”

Dunaway is a native of Tylertown, Miss. He and his family moved to Bogalusa in 1952. He is a 1957 graduate of Bogalusa High School and became a Bogalusa firefighter in 1961. He realized his lifelong dream in 1990 when he was named chief of the Bogalusa Fire Department in 1990.

In December of 1996, Dunaway retired from the department after 36 years of service.

He began his second career in golf course management after he was named general manager of Gemstone Plantation Golf Course. He officially retired in 2013.

Dunaway has been an active MCCA member since 1990. He was Den Lieutenant of the Den of Magic Chaos for eight years and is a charter member of the Den of Zeus, which is nine years old. He was Zeus Treasurer for six years. He has served as Duke for MCCA XXV, XXVIII, XXXII, XXXIII and XXXV, which is a record.

Dunaway said during the 2014 reign of MCCA XXXV King Richard Jenkins and Queen Deni Black, he took mental notes.

“I was able to keep notes the whole year on their reign because I knew I was going to be King this year,” Dunaway said. “It all worked out well.”

Dunaway is married to Janene Stewart Dunaway, who was MCCA XXXI Queen. The King that year was Richard Slade.

“It was kind of a given that when Janene and Richard were MCCA XXXI, was when I decided I wanted to be King,” Dunaway said. “I put my name in the hat with Captain Don Spiers and told him I was ready. My turn came up for MCCA XXXVI. The Captain called me and asked if I was ready. I said, ‘I am and let’s go for it.’”

Dunaway said it was a natural selection to choose Linda Thompson Slade as his Queen.

“I can’t express what a tremendous honor it is to be King and to be blessed with a Queen like Linda Slade,” Dunaway said. “She is the perfect person to be my Queen.”

Dunaway said he also learned much from late Bogalusa businessman Greg Genco.

“Greg Genco always sat down with the King and Queen and explained their responsibilities and duties,” Dunaway said. “I was very fortunate to hear him, so I know more about MCCA and what is expected from listening to Greg. His passing left a void in the organization.”

Janene is also a member of the YaYa’s.

Dunaway is the father of two children, Dena (Kevin) Willis and Jimmy (Minnie) Dunaway. He and Janene enjoy their six grandchildren, Tera (Brent) Holmes, Kara (Graham) Guillory, Jesse and Molly Willis, Kyle and Cole Edwards. Great grandsons are Brady Holmes and Gabe Guillory. Dunaway is the son of the late Hulon and Alberta Dunaway.

“We’re looking forward to a wonderful parade day and asking everybody to come out and participate in a family-oriented parade,” Dunaway said. “I’m sure I shall have goose bumps riding the King’s float. All the Kings before me have been real examples.”

Being chosen as the MCCA XXXVI Queen is like a fairy tale, according to Linda Thompson Slade.

“When I was chosen I felt like Cinderella at the ball,” Slade said. “Now I’m just a housewife raising a grandson, Jacob Slade. My King didn’t ask me until April 22. I was kind of surprised because I didn’t think he would ever do it.”

Slade is the wife of King MCCA XXXI Richard Slade. She is the daughter of the late Howard “Red” and Gloria Tynes Thompson of Bogalusa. She was born in Poplarville, Miss., but grew up in Bogalusa where she graduated from Bogalusa High School in 1970.

Slade said the hoopla surround MCCA should be for the kids.

“I’m not a real fru-fru person,” she said. “I like nice things, but I believe it’s about kids and the elderly who can’t get out a lot.”

She married Poplarville native Richard Slade in 1973 and is the mother of two sons.

She has been a member of the Athena ladies group and was a founding member of the YaYa’s. She currently resides in Covington and is a former resident of Timberlane in Bogalusa.

“I’m looking forward to my reign and want to make MCCA proud of me,” Slade said.