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'We've only just begun'

By By Adrienne McKenzie
More than 200 guests showed up at the Wisteria Saturday night to attend the Ladies of Essence annual Mardi Gras Ball.
Brenda Watkins, president of Ladies of Essence, said that the ball went really well.
"It was good, everybody had a good time," Watkins said. "It was one of the best ones we've had."
The entertainment for the evening was radio personality Nikka deMarks and it was apparent that attendees of the party really enjoyed her choice of music as they danced the night away.
The Ladies of Essence consists of nine members, which include: Watkins, Delores Brown, Shirley Longmire, Theresa White, Bonnie Johnson, Sandra McPherson, Pamela Jackson, Betty Boggan and Betty Holley.
In order to become a member of Ladies of Essence, one must be an active church member and must possess good moral character.
The Ladies meet once a month and there is a fee of $5 per month to stay an active member.
The Ladies were formed over 10 years ago and six of the original members are still in the group. Watkins said that the Ladies began because they wanted to be a part of different activities throughout the community. They have established staples, which include: their colors, purple and gold; their flower, African violet and their motto, "We've only just begun."
Watkins said that the ladies really have a great time together.
"We have fun," Watkins said. "We really have a ball!"
The Ladies are involved in different community projects. They alternate Christmas and Thanksgiving between the nursing home and needy families. They make sure to carry enough gifts for everyone in the nursing home and they make baskets for families who are in need. They also have an annual Mardi Gras parade, which falls on the Saturday before Fat Tuesday each year.
Ladies of Essence have two different fund raising projects: the Mardi Gras Ball and the Cabaret, which takes place in July. The money raised from these events is saved in a scholarship fund. The women save the money to give a senior a cash scholarship of at least $500. The money also helps to pay for the gift baskets for needy families and for the decorations for the Mardi Gras Ball.
The Ladies of Essence annual Mardi Gras Parade will be held this Saturday at noon. Anyone who would like to participate in the parade should meet at the Atmore City Hall at 11 a.m. The parade will begin at the City Hall and will peak at Houston Avery Park. The Ladies ask that all civic groups, social organizations and businesses participate in the parade. No go-carts, four wheelers, scooters or bicycles will be allowed. There are also no walkers allowed unless dressed as a clown or other characters.
For more information about the Ladies of Essence Mardi Gras Parade, please call 368-8616.