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Let the Good Times Roll

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Jan 22nd, 2017
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King Alan Barth And Queen Kelli Harvey Reign Over The Krewe Of Janus

article by Kay Stodhart Rector | photography by Brad Arender

Reigning over the Mardi Gras festivities in the Twin Cities this month will be Alan Barth and Kelli Harvey.  As King and Queen Janus XXXIV, Barth and Harvey will lead revelers in the Krewe of Janus Parade, scheduled to roll through Monroe and West Monroe at 6:00 p.m. on February 18, 2017.  Elected months ago, the two have been representing the Krewe of Janus at events and making public appearances on television and in schools, nursing homes and civic organizations throughout the community since late summer 2016.

The Krewe of Janus was founded in 1984 by the Twin City Jaycees and became an independent organization in 1989.  The Krewe’s mission is to promote tourism in the Monroe-West Monroe area, with its main event being a Mardi Gras parade held each year.  An estimated 180,000 people attended last year’s parade.

The theme for Mardi Gras 2017 is “Janus Around the World.”   In keeping with this theme, parade floats will depict scenes and decorations from different nations and cultures.  King Barth and Queen Harvey and other Krewe members have been busy building and decorating floats and painting elaborate colorful murals for the various events and festivities, including the Grand Ball on February 4, 2017.

In addition to the Grand Ball, a formal event featuring presentation of the King, Queen and members of their Royal Court, the Krewe holds a number of other parties throughout the year, which the King and Queen attend. A Half Way to Mardi Gras Party took place in August, a casual, informal affair.  A more formal cocktail party was later in the year.  The Queen’s Luncheon was in November, with all of the Queen’s Royal Court in attendance.  Later that same evening, the King hosted a party his Dukes and Pages and other royalty and guests.  A Twelfth Night Party was held on January 6, 2017.  With the exception of the Queen’s Luncheon and King’s Party, all events are open to the public with tickets purchased through the Krewe’s headquarters or members.

For the Grand Ball and Parade, as well as the public appearances that they make during the season, the King and Queen don traditional, elaborate costumes with heavily adorned high collared robes.  Pursuant to tradition, King and Queen Janus’ costumes are all white, gold or silver.  These costumes are obtained from shops in the New Orleans area specializing in Mardi Gras attire.

Krewe members elect a King and Queen each year from among members who have been in good standing for at least two years and have previously served as a Duke or Duchess, respectively.  Elections are conducted by secret ballot.  In addition to the King and Queen, the Krewe elects Dukes and Duchesses to assist them and serve on their Royal Court. In order to serve as a Duke or Duchess, a member must have been a part of the Krewe in good standing for more than one year.

King Alan Barth is a relative newcomer to Northeast Louisiana.  Born in New York, he lived in New Jersey during most of his childhood.  He moved to Beaumont, Texas to attend Lamar State University, where he majored in Speech and Theater.  His work in the restaurant business brought him to Monroe.  During his  43-year career, he worked with Church’s Chicken and as an executive with Wendy’s, traveling throughout Louisiana and living briefly in Opelousas, where he first experienced Mardi Gras.

Now retired from the food industry, Barth is actively involved with Camp Quality, a camp for children who have been diagnosed with cancer. Camp Quality holds a summer camp once a year, and also reunions throughout the year so that the campers can keep in touch.  Campers attend at no cost to the children or their parents.  The camp is held at different locations each year.  Last summer’s camp was held at King’s Camp near Mer Rouge.

Barth attends the camp sessions each year, and acted as the Camp Director last summer session.  Many nursing students act as camp counselors, giving them an opportunity to work with kids with illnesses and offer their skills, if needed.  “Our motto at Camp Quality is ‘Letting Kids with Cancer Be Kids Again,’” Barth says.  “We don’t talk about cancer.  If they are in active treatment, we take them to their treatment sessions, but other than that and any necessary medical attention, we try to let them forget all that and just have fun.”

Camp Quality is a non-financial sponsor of the Krewe of Janus, and a camper from Camp Quality will serve as a Page in the King’s Royal Court.  In addition to his work with Camp Quality, Barth is also a member and past President of The Twin Cities Rotary Club.  He is serving as an Assistant Governor with Rotary International this year. Barth is a member of Temple B’Nai Israel and is President of their Men’s Club.

Barth enjoys being a member of the Krewe of Janus and is honored to serve as King.  He was chosen as a Duke last year, and says that he had so much fun that when Kelli asked him about accepting the nomination for this year’s King, he readily agreed.

Serving alongside King Alan Barth are Dukes Andy Harbor, Bill Levinson, Joe McCarthy and Wes Moore.  Young Pages, serving the King at his selection, are Nathan Anderson, Noah Brewster, Tyler Brown, Adam Mock and Tristian Rushing.  Chosen by the King as his Squire is Mike Healey.

Queen Kelli Harvey is a native of Morgan City, Louisiana.  She has lived in Northeast Louisiana since 1995 and is the director of education at McCann School of Business and Technology, formerly Career Technical College, where she has worked for 17 years.  In her spare time, Harvey loves to hunt.  She has two teenaged children, both of whom attend West Monroe High School.

Harvey celebrated Mardi Gras growing up and has been a member of the Krewe of Janus for four years.  For the past three years, Harvey has been the Krewe’s Party Lieutenant, in charge of all of the parties, arranging for caterers, decorating, setting up and doing whatever planning and implementation needs to be done to make sure each event is a success.  She served as a Duchess before being elected Queen.

As members of her Court, Queen Harvey has chosen Duchesses Gay Nell Barth, Amy Bayles, Louise Hakim and Alexia Danna. The Queen’s Princesses are Harvey’s daughter, Kristen Batten, along with Danielle Coble, Skylar Gambino, Kaitlynn Spradling and Mallory Spradling. Serving the Queen as her Lady in Waiting is Susan Boudreaux.

A tremendous amount of work goes into the parade each year, and Krewe members meet, plan and labor year-round to make the event successful for the community.  As both Barth and Harvey point out, the Krewe of Janus Parade would not be possible without corporate sponsors. Gold Sponsors include Monroe Coca-Cola Bottling, Scott Powerline and Utility Equipment, Chase Bank and the Monroe/West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau.  Green Sponsors are Marsala Beverage, Coast Professional and JPS Equipment Rental, and Purple Sponsor is 2Dudes Catering.  Media Sponsors are BayouLife Magazine, KTVE 10 and Fox 14, The Radio People and DeltaStyle Magazine.

Harvey expects this year’s parades and Grand Ball to be even bigger and better than last year. As in years past, King and Queen Janus will participate in the two smaller parades, which will be held on Saturday, before the main Krewe of Janus parade rolls at 6:00p.m.  The Children’s Parade will take place Saturday morning at Pecanland Mall’s Center Court.  The Krewe of Paws Pet Parade on Antique Alley in West Monroe, sponsored by the Ouachita Parish Animal Shelter will be held early Saturday afternoon.

Harvey says her favorite part of celebrating Mardi Gras with the Krewe of Janus is seeing the children each year on parade day.  “Ours really is a very kid-friendly celebration,” she says. Last year, the Krewe of Janus Mardi Gras Parade was recognized locally and nationally as “Best Family Festival” by Macaroni Kid, a popular eNewsletter and website that features events and activities for kids and families.  As the Krewe of Janus celebrates Mardi Gras 2017, Harvey, Barth and their Royal Court hope to delight and entertain revelers, young and old, in Louisiana style.