The president of the Lakeside School Board, Carla Mouton, will reign as queen of the First Ever 14th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade down Bridge Street on March 17. Carla taught history at Lakeside School District for 22 years beginning in 1987. Joining her as parade king will be former House District 25 state Rep. John Vines, who now serves as the House’s legal counsel and assistant parliamentarian.
Carla Mouton: I think it might be the most fun I’m going to have in a long, long time. We’ve been to most parades, except when we’ve been out of town, and I’ve got friends that have been the queen and friends that have been the king and I just said, ‘This looks like a ball!’ It’s not serious, nobody trying to take it as serious royalty. Back home there’s a lot of Mardi Gras balls, which are fabulous, but they kind of take it seriously, very formal, and this is just fun. So I’m tickled pink. I have to tell you, when I got that letter, I just giggled. I thought, ‘Yes, this is going to be a good time.’
CM: I’m president of the school board. I’m involved with the Sister City Foundation, Hanamaki, Japan. I went to Japan as a teacher in 1998 and when I retired, I got on the board because it was something I was interested in. Another thing that is really, really big for me is the Single Parent Foundation. A friend of mine was on it and there are so many people who really need it. I just do stuff; I’m the volunteer, basically. I’ve gotten involved with political campaigns. Oaklawn Foundation is huge. Just things like that. I really, really like this town and I want to do my part.
CM: Oh, no. I’m from New Iberia, La. We moved here in 1986 and I started teaching at Lakeside the next year. This is home. All three of our children graduated from school at Lakeside. This is it, this is home.
CM: I had seen the cape that they all wear and I thought, ‘OK, I’m going to get gold spangles or something,’ and my youngest son said, ‘Really, mom?’ I said, ‘What?’ and he said, ‘Glenda the good witch.’ Well, it turns out, I’m not Glenda the good witch but I’m wearing a very princess-y dress, something you’d see in Disney with the sleeves, the waist; it’s going to be fun. And it’s very, very, very green.
CM: I think, what I understand, it’ll start at the Transportation Depot, and we’ll be on a car, and we’ll ride, ride, ride on the car, and then you get to the head of the street, and then you have all of the measuring and all of the hoopla that starts. Then, I guess if I wanted to I could still ride the car but I’ve seen most of the queens and kings get out and go from side to side and visit and throw beads. If there’s anything else I have to do, I don’t know anything about it. But that’s what I understand.
CM: I do know him. When John first ran for representative, I called him because I have opinions on lots of things. I was very interested at the time in insurance for teachers; I was still teaching. He’s a dear friend now. I know his wife and his children and he’s been a good supporter of Lakeside and he’s a nice guy. He’s my middle son’s age so there’s a little bit of a difference there.
CM: John is a lot of fun. He doesn’t take himself seriously, I don’t take myself seriously. They want somebody, I think, that will promote, be a good ambassador for Hot Springs, but at the same point in time, be fun.
CM: I find that this town is so eclectic. I moved from a town about this size, I guess. Everybody I knew went to Mount Carmel Catholic High, everybody I knew went to the same church. Wonderful community. I’m one of seven, momma is one of 10, we had this big family, but everybody’s on the same page. Nothing negative about that, but, we moved here, and I begun teaching and I met incredible teachers and the parents of the kids I taught.
I belong to this book club and when I look around the book club, I see that I taught your daughter, your son, all three of your children — I got to meet this group of women that are brilliant. All walks of life, bring different things to the table, and as a consequence, I’ve gotten involved with the community and I just find that you’ve got people just like me, you’ve got people who are just like my family back home, you’ve got people who are so artsy and so musically inclined. You find anything you want in Hot Springs. And if you don’t like this, that’s all right, sweetheart, there’s something else for you. I just think it’s a neat town. It broadens my horizons.
Interview conducted by Lindsey Wells