History of the Krewe of Dionysos

Summer of 1998

Looking out on Sibley Lake that warm afternoon, Di asked Kim, “What do we do between Christmas Parade and Jazz Fest?  What about a Mardi Gras Parade?” Kim said, “We don’t have one.” “Well,” said Di, “Let’s start one!”

Against all odds, together, Kim and Di gathered seven persons willing to commit to the idea of forming a Mardi Gras parading Krewe.  Those seven fabulous founders are:  Emogene (Em) and John Cox, Linda Tillman Gustwick, Cherilyn Fairchild, Kim Isbell, Barbara Jackson and Dianne Winningham.

The Krewe was named after the Greek God Dionysos, “The God of wine also known as Bacchus.”  The Shreveport Krewe of Centaur was instrumental in helping establish by-laws for the newly formed Krewe of Dionysos.

We had a name, we had by-laws, we were incorporated, we had past with the City of Natchitoches heads of government and the Historic District Commission, we didn’t have members, i.  Invitations went out, “The Board of Directors of the Krewe of Dionysos has selected you for a charter membership in Natchitoches’ newest Mardi Gras Krewe.”  Packets were put together, dues were decided on, Larry and Suzy Ryan from the Krewe of Centaur were motivational speakers for the evening.  On October 29, 1998 the party was a success, but at the end of the evening, we had two members, Larry and Suzy Ryan.

The next week the seven waited, surely there will be some responses. “Di!!!” Barbara could hardly contain her excitement.  “we have members.”  On November 17, 1998, the first EVER meeting of the Charter Members of the Krewe of Dionysos was held at what was then “The Ryder Inn.”  The Charter Members were addressed as follows:

“Tonight we are beginning a journey together.  The map we chart shall be one that sets forth the principles upon which we shall be established, governed, and upon which we will build.  It is the founders; mission to form a corporation that adds dimensions to the quality of life in our community.  Krewe of Dionysos will give every member a place to meet new friends and renew and nourish existing friendships.  It will offer opportunities for every member to become involved and express individual talents.  May we fill in each blank after careful consideration of the rich heritage that is outs of Mardi Gras Krewes before us.  We must always consider the future and the impact this endeavor will have in our community.  May the end results be a body of multitalented, creative members who accept the adult responsibilities required to govern such a corporation, but equally as important, may we be a body of members adding an element of festival, gaiety, and laughter to our lives as we nurture the child within us ALL.  ALL HAIL KREWE OF DIONYSOS!!!

Dianne Winningham
Captain Dionysos I and II