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Volunteers work to make visit special

A number of people in Brookhaven looked for ways they could helpmake Thursday’s legislative visit to the Mississippi School of theArts a success.

Girl Scout Troop 114 and many former Girl Scouts learned moreabout the importance of the school and tried to show legislatorsthat message through colorful signs and banners.

“The legislators loved that. Their faces just lit up when theyrounded the corner and saw the signs,” said Brookhaven-LincolnCounty Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice-president Chandler Russ,who was riding on the bus with legislators.

Dr. Marilyn Dow-Harris, director of Troop 114, said the visitgave the 30 girl scouts, ranging from 5-14 years old, a chance tolearn more about the arts school.

“I explained what the school of the arts was and how they couldhave a chance to go to it,” she said.

Boy Scout Troop 119, sponsored by the First United MethodistChurch, gave the legislators the royal treatment by rolling out ared carpet to Lampton Auditorium.

“They wanted to participate in some way, and we thought the redcarpet would be a nice thing to do for the legislators,” said JoeFernald, scout master.

Fernald pointed out how the troop wanted to roll the carpet outjust right, so they practiced a few nights before the visit.Practice made perfect for the Boy Scouts when the time cameThursday.

Other young people participating in the event were the LesBelles, who served as hostesses and handed out Mardi Gras beads tothe visitors.

Brookhaven Exchange Club members Ricky Lagrone and Weldon Smithput flags along the sidewalk to complete the legislators’ entranceto the arts school.

The legislators’ appetite couldn’t be overlooked Thursday eitheras local residents scrambled to bring all activities together for aMardi Gras-themed dinner at Belle Rosen after the presentation atLampton Auditorium.

Jimminette Phillips and Becky Corkern began preparations for theCajun meal Wednesday, spending hours in the kitchen.

“We boiled 40 pounds of chicken and 38 pounds of sausage,”Corkern said, adding that they also had to debone the chickenbefore cutting it up and adding it to the jambalaya.

The women, who are members of the Arts Council, a division ofthe Brookhaven Trust, also made several loaves of french bread anda huge amount of salad.

“We want to help out any way we can,” Phillips said about herinterest in the school.

After they had finished the preparations for the jambalaya, Dr.Wade Ditcharo brought it all together with the assistance of DavidPhillips and Buddy Ratliff.

Ditcharo spent much of Wednesday afternoon carefully addingingredients and keeping the jambalaya cooking in a large vat. Hesaw the meal as only a small part of the legislators’ trip, buthoped that was one way he could help advance the arts school.

“I think it’s a good cause. The arts school is a great thing forBrookhaven,” Ditcharo said.