Alexandria Mardi Gras parade to salute Israel

This year, Israel will be the featured country for a Mardi Gras celebration in Alexandria, La.

The annual Children’s Mardi Gras parade will roll through downtown on March 1 starting at 10 a.m. Zina Ford, who chairs the international program for the parade, said “for many years we have honored countries with strong ties to Central Louisiana,” and this year it is Israel.

Becky Danville, president of the Alexandria Mardi Gras Association, said the country is selected by the city and executives from the association.

Last November, the city dedicated a Holocaust memorial in the downtown area. Before that, Mayor Jacques Roy joined a trip to Israel with members of the local Jewish community in March 2013.

Two officials from the Israeli Consulate in Houston will be guest dignitaries in the parade. Robert Preston is the political affairs officer, and Guy Cohen is the director of cultural affairs. Cohen spoke at the Holocaust memorial dedication.

Children from Gemiluth Chassodim will ride on the association’s float, which will bear an Israeli flag. The parade will begin with Rabbi Judy Caplan Ginsburgh performing the United States and Israeli national anthems, following a toast by the mayor.

A luncheon will follow at the Diamond Grill, recognizing the international guests of honor.

Also being honored is the parade’s Grand Marshal, Lt. General Russel Honore, who retired after 37 years of active service with the U.S. Army. He was commander of the Joint Task Force Katrina, and is an authority on global preparedness. He also chairs the Louisiana Bicentennial Commission.

At 2 p.m., Gemiluth Chassed will host a public reception with all of the dignitaries.