Krewe of Elks celebrate 53rd Carnival Season

Photo by Dearest Photography 

The Krewe of Elks celebrated their 53rd carnival season at their royal coronation and carnival ball Saturday, Feb. 23. Committee chairs were Martha Johnson, Patsy Hawkins; Social, Sheila Calhoun; and Court, Janie Williamson. The new King and Queen were greeted in a “Casablanca” themed ballroom.

Following a welcome to guests and an introduction from Exalted Ruler Mike Compton, Emcee Steve Lyon began the coronation activities. The script was delivered by Madelyn Rose, daughter of Alex Rose and Kaitln Rose and granddaughter of Nicole Rose and King Elk LIII and the Elks’ 53rd coronation was underway. The current King and Queen, Scott Miller and Pam Compton, entered the ballroom to make their final walk as reigning royalty. 

The new monarch, King Elk LIII, Charles Hugh McGowen III, entered the ballroom wearing an original creation by Ponda Lee of Ponda’s Seams & Things.

King Elk LIII was born in Hattiesburg. He is the son of Jane Magee and the late Charles H. McGowen Jr. He grew up in the Oaks District. After attending Marion Military School, he graduated from Oak Grove High School and attended Jones County Junior College. The King is the owner of McGowen Chemicals in Moselle and Graceland Portable Buildings and Cabins in Hattiesburg. He has two daughters, Jessie Opal of Portland, Ore. and Katelynn McGowen of Moselle.

King Elk joined B.P.O.E. #599 in 1990. He became very active in the lodge serving as Inner Guard, Chaplin, Esquire, Loyal, Lecturing and Leading Knights and Exalted Ruler. 

The King’s pages for the evening were Ryleigh Ladner, daughter of Chance Ladner and Michaela Whiteworth, and Bransen and Maverick Pittman, sons of Brandon Pittman and Bridgette Pittman.

The Royal Court of 2019 was then introduced. Each couple represented a country whose refugees escaped to Casablanca from the turmoil of World War II and sought solace at Rick’s. Duke Rusty Pittman and Duchess Linda Pittman represented Holland; Duke Johnny Herman and Duchess Rose Miller, Hungary; Duke Chris Johnson and Duchess Amanda Johnson, England; Duke Brian Stewart and Duchess Amber Stewart, Austria, Duke Shane Stewart and Duchess Trisha Stewart, France; Duke Jonathan Stanberry and Duchess Monica Stanberry, Italy. 

Lord and Lady Elk were Robert Swilley and Carla McDuffie. 

Queen Elk LIII, Marie Tackett, entered the ballroom wearing a form fitting gown of gold. 

The queen was born and raised in Pickens. After high school graduation, she moved to Greenwood to study nursing at MS Delta Junior College.  

Queen Elk moved to Hattiesburg in 1984 where she began her career in education. She started with Forrest County Schools as a teacher’s assistant. She then transferred to the District Office where she worked as an administrative assistant for the Deputy Superintendent of Education. After a 28-year career, the queen retired.

She has been married to Wayne Tackett for 42 years. and they have two children – Chris Tackett of Bremerton, Wash., and daughter, Amber Stewart of Hattiesburg. The Queen has three grandsons, Blake Stewart, Kyle Stewart and Auron Tackett and one granddaughter, Audrey Stewart. 

Queen LIII has been a member of B.P.O.E #599 for the past three years. She served as a member of the 2018 Carnival Ball Chairperson Committee and has served as a Duchess on the Court of Queen and King Elk LI. Her Krewe offices include Secretary and Captain. She currently serves as the first female Krewe Captain of the Krewe of Elks. 

The Queen’s pages were Audrey Stewart, daughter of Amber and Brian Stewart and Kinley Koop, daughter of Ross and Savanna Koop. 

Following the coronation, a cocktail party was held to celebrate this carnival season. Madewood Street Music provided music for the ball.

The King and Queen’s Celebration was held Sunday afternoon, Feb. 24. King McGowen and Queen Tackett welcomed guests once again to enjoy an afternoon of food and drink and fellowship with friends, royalty and family.