Smile! It’s MCCA day! — Seniors enjoy early ‘parade’

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 6, 2016

Despite the nippy weather Friday morning, the seniors at Resthaven Living Center in Bogalusa enjoyed their own private Mardi Gras parade.

 Krewe of Love member Dana M. Walker hands a gift to one of the seniors.

Krewe of Love member Dana M. Walker hands a gift to one of the seniors.

While ice still sat in a birdbath near the entryway to the senior center, the Bogalusa High School marching band and dancers put on a show for the senior residents, some of whom came out in beds and wheelchairs, but all of whom enjoy the crisp air and the celebration.

“It’s magnificent,” said Arcola Peay, the center’s Mardi Gras queen.

Tamira Smith, the social services director at the senior center, said the center typically offers a little something for its residents, but this year was a bit different.

“We’ve been having Mardi Gras here for the past 10 years, and this is the first year we’ve had the band,” she said.

This year’s king is Dr. Gilbert Callicouet, the duke is Barry Hall and the duchess is Joan Gibson.

Usually, Peay said, the MCCA king and queen stop by and tour the facilities and share some king cake. That visit still happened Friday afternoon, but the parade was new. Besides the high school students, members from the “Krewe of Love” also dropped by to toss beads and other small gifts to the seniors.

Dana Walker, a co-captain of the Krewe of Love said this is the first year her Krewe will participate in the MCCA parade on Saturday, so Friday was something of a trial run. She said it went well.

“It’s beautiful,” said Walker. “We were happy to come out here and put a smile on the faces of the employees and the residents.”

In addition to working at the senior center, Smith is vice president of the Bogalusa city council, and she was joined Friday by council president Sherry Fortenberry and councilman Andy Deleon, both of whom have relatives who live at the senior center.

For Fortenberry, the morning’s program was an unqualified success.

“I love it,” she said.