It's Mardi Gras time!

Friday, February 8, 2008
Tribune Photo by Karen Hall Staff members strut their stuff during Mardi Gras festivities Tuesday at NHC Oakwood.

Mardi Gras came to Lewisburg Tuesday.

At NHC Oakwood, the staff and patients dressed up with beads, feathers, crowns and masks. The lunch menu featured fried chicken, red beans and rice, and king cake and bread pudding for dessert.

Bill Beech, 90, was among the celebrants, with a badge identifying him as a "Golden Links Volunteer." Beech and his late wife retired to Lewisburg in 1999 after 30 years in New Orleans. He was the one who urged NHC Oakwood to begin celebrating Mardi Gras each year. Recreation Coordinator Tammy Been has dubbed him Honorary Grand Marshall of their little parade.

"I never expected to live to be 90," Beech confesses.

He lives on a farm owned by his widowed daughter, Sharon Higginbotham, and starts and ends each day feeding 25 broodmares, eight walking horses and six miniature donkeys. Beech used to volunteer at NHC Oakwood every Friday, but now he just gets there when he feels up to it. The staff was dressed in purple and green and danced up and down the halls, blowing noise-makers and generally making a festive racket.

See Friday's Tribune for the complete story.