Center celebrates Carnival with parade

Connie Gueret, decked out in a blue sequined dress and sparkling jewelry, handed out doubloons Friday before her Mardi Gras krewe rolled.

Gueret was one of several maids riding in the Communities Opportunities — The Arc of East Ascension’s Mardi Gras parade, which circled the agency’s Adult Day Center’s parking lot several times.

“I can’t throw too good, so I’m handing out the doubloons to my friends so I know they’ll get them,” Gueret said.

“It’s all about having fun and celebrating the Mardi Gras season,” Daryl Hambrick, a past president of the nonprofit agency, said. “They just love this event every year and we’re glad to be able to make it happen. It lets them feel the flavor of Mardi Gras.”

King Eddie Shaw Jr. and queen Ridder Crocker donned crowns and sashes for the parade.

The royalty loaded up in several vans and rode around the parking lot throwing beads to more than 50 friends, family and clients of the agency’s day program centered across town.

Crocker, 72, said she loves Mardi Gras and was glad the center hosted the parade and Mardi Gras party.

The annual party is just one of the activities Crocker said she looks forward to attending.

“We exercise every day and we go on trips and we visit in the yard,” she said. “You don’t want to go back home after spending the day here.”

The Arc opened the adult day care facility on Purpera Road just over four years ago to provide services for those seniors in need of day care, Hambrick said.

“The seniors that come just love it, but we need more people to come and to come more often,” he said.

“You can’t find a better place or better people,” said Crocker, who has nine children, six stepchildren, 75 grandchildren and 38 great-grandchildren.

Gueret agreed.

“And, the food is good, too,” Gueret said.

Hambrick set up speakers in the center’s courtyard. Music filled the air as the seniors and those visiting from the agency’s other center danced and clapped.

Hambrick is hoping to raise the money needed to finish landscaping the courtyard.

“We really want to make this a nice oasis for those coming every day,” he said.

Hambrick was joined by volunteers from his Donaldsonville Krewe Hambonz, which held its ball earlier this month.

Also attending this year’s parade were former NFL player and Donaldsonville High School graduate Howard Green and NFL and East Ascension High School graduate Glenn Dorsey. Both men have relatives that work for the agency and said they enjoy visiting the agency’s center.