Rotarians bring ‘Big Easy’ to Madison Senior Center as hosts of Mardi Gras Party

MADISON –  Mardi Gras’ parades and street parties are 433 miles from Madison, but the fun atmosphere of the Big Easy filled Madison Senior Center for its annual party, hosted by Rotary Club of Madison.

“This year’s party was the first one inside the center since 2019. There wasn’t a party in 2020. Last year, we had a drive-up party,” Levoneia Ayers said. Ayers works as Senior Center Director.

Pastor Larry ‘L.C.’ Burks and Dorothy Harris were crowned King and Queen of Mardi Gras at the center.

“Mrs. Dorothy Harris was born in Mobile on Jan. 4. She is 98 years old,” her daughter Felecia Harris Rodgers said. “Mrs. Harris was married 58 years to the late Mr. Robert Harris Jr.”

“Mrs. Harris is a retired schoolteacher who taught in the public school system for 36 years in Mobile and Colbert County, Alabama, respectively. She is a graduate alum from Alabama A&M University, Class of 1942,” Rodgers said.

Dorothy Harris has two daughters, five grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren. She enjoys playing piano, crocheting, solving word-search puzzles and going to Madison Senior Center to socialize with her friends.

Elder L.C. Burks is the son of the late Robert D. and Addie Burks. He was born on Oct. 20,1947 in Madison, where he still lives. Burks attended West Madison Junior High and Council Training School. He served in the U.S. Army until receiving an Honorable Discharge on Aug. 15, 1973.

“In 1961, he was converted and joined Phillips Tabernacle Primitive Baptist Church (under the leadership of Elder James Townsend). On May 7, 1971, he was united in Holy Matrimony to the former Ms. Nellie Moore,” daughter-in-law Kimberley Davis-Burks said.

“To this union, they were blessed with four children: Michael, Marsha, Jeffrey and Debra; eight grandchildren and two daughters-in-law. Elder L.C. and Nellie Burks have been married for over 50 blissful years,” Davis-Burks said.

His work history included BLP Paint Company (1977 to 1982) as a material handler; Redstone Arsenal (1982 to 1997) in the Department of Transportation; and City of Madison (1997to 2007) in Parks and Recreation Department.

“In March 1973, he was called by the Lord into the ministry and was ordained in 1978. He has been preaching for 48 years,” Davis-Burks said.

He pastored Bethlehem P.B. Church, Hillsboro (1979 to 1981); Bell P.B. Church, Decatur (1984 to1992); and Mount Olive P.B. Church, Pittsburgh, Tenn. (2001 to 2014).

In 2000, he was elected as the 2nd Vice Moderator of the Friendship United Primitive Baptist Association. In October 2002, Elder Burks was elected Chief Evangelist of the Primitive Baptist Association, where he served for two years.

Since retirement, Elder Burks has been enjoying gardening and yard work. He also likes time with his family, church family and participating at Madison Senior Center, especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays for BINGO.

Rotarians decorated the center’s auditorium in a sea of purple and gold. Center members enjoyed a fruit punch (purple, of course!) and cupcakes heaped with white frosting. The serving table had a ‘Mardi Gras tree.’

“Rotary has been thrilled to have put on this event for a number of years,” Rotary President Kris McBride said. “The seniors always seem to enjoy this event. They have fun, and we Rotarians have a blast.”

“Last year, we had to put this on as a ‘drive-by’ (because of COVID-19) so it was wonderful to be able to go back in person,” McBride said.

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