Krewe of St. Fabian announce king & queen

Photos courtesy of Steve Coleman

Queen Belle 2019

Although originally from Bassfield, Rhonda Irizarry is no stranger to Mardi Gras, nor is she a stranger to the fun-loving group known as the Krewe of Saint Fabian, whose main goal is raising money for the St. Fabian Church Building Fund. Her active participation in so many ministries, her constant display of love and loyalty, and her contagious, jovial attitude, made Rhonda the unanimous choice for Queen Belle 2019. 

Daughter of Ronnie and Johnnie Shows of Hattiesburg, Rhonda graduated from Bassfield High School a decorated athlete – earning honors and awards in basketball, softball, cheerleading, and track/field. 

After high school, she attended Pearl River Community College where she earned an associates degree as a registered respiratory therapist. She attended The University of Southern Mississippi pursing a degree in Foreign Languages before moving to New Orleans. Rhonda and her husband, Luis Irizarry, have been married for 20 years. Together they have raised five sons, Corbin, 28, Patrick, 23, Liam, 17, Aidan, 14, and Kaelan, 12. 

Rhonda is passionate about helping others. Her willingness to serve is shown by her service to the church, not only for the parishioners, but for the surrounding community as well. She is the coordinator for Feasting with Father, a ministry which hosts dinner for parishioners and Father Tommy. She is also the co-coordinator for the social events at Saint Fabian. She and Queen Belle 2016, Jill Jordan, organize parish potluck lunches, church anniversary celebrations, RCIA receptions, and the immensely successful, annual Pinchin’ Tails for Pitchin’ In crawfish boil which benefits the Saint Fabian medical fund. Rhonda volunteers for several other ministries including the youth ministry, vacation bible school,Altar Guild, and Sacred Heart Catholic School PTO. She is also a member of the Saint Fabian Social Services committee.


King Fabian IV

When you meet Hugh Sutherland, you completely understand why the Krewe of St. Fabian chose him as King Fabian IV. The son of Charlie and Cindy Sutherland of Hattiesburg, Hugh grew up in Petal. He spent most of his time riding cutting horses and attending rodeos. In 1993, Hugh was named National Cutting Horse Association World Champion. After graduation from Petal High School in 1996, he began working for the family business,

L & A Contracting, where he worked 23 years. He and wife, Cathy, married in 2015 and he is stepfather to Kaleigh, 23 and Michael, 19. 

After prayerful consideration, Hugh made the decision to attend RCIA and became Catholic in December of 2015. He chose St. Andrew, the fisherman, as his confirmation saint which is very appropriate for such an avid outdoorsman. 

“Hugh is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most tender-hearted people,” Cathy said. “He treats me like a queen. He’s funny, adventurous, and has an awesome work ethic. He’s grounded and makes me feel safe, secure, and taken care of.”

There is evidence of these qualities in his work at St. Fabian too. Hugh is an active member of the Social Services Committee. He has selflessly given his time to help those in need on many occasions, including driving supplies to Houston after Hurricane Harvey and assisting St. Fabian and St. Thomas in clean-up efforts after tornados in Hattiesburg. 

He has worked with the Youth Ministry as well, chaperoning their trip to Mound Bayou, which is an annual Diocesan mission trip supporting disadvantaged youth and some of the most impoverished people in the nation. He is also a member of the church security team, coordinates St. Fabian’s weekly lenten fish fry, and volunteers for and contributes all of the chairs and tables for the annual crawfish boil.  Hugh was also heavily involved in transforming the school bus into our beloved Krewe of St. Fabian float.  

“I believe Hugh is a great choice for King. Even though he is a relatively “new” Catholic, he has totally embraced our faith,” said Father Tommy Conway. “He practices regularly, heads up our lenten fish fries, is involved with our disaster relief efforts, and is a great worker for the Krewe.”