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Laissez les bon temps rouler

Life’s a party at Highland Springs

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May 5th, 2017
Danna’s Darlings, led by Danna Parsons, prepare for a Mardi Gras parade. (From left) Danna Parsons, Mimi O’Neill, Marna Keith, Judith Barnes, Ellen Lee, Norma Hill, Ann Green, Ruth Powers, Barbara Buehler, Susan Barnes, and Francine Daner.

Danna’s Darlings, led by Danna Parsons, prepare for a Mardi Gras parade. (From left) Danna Parsons, Mimi O’Neill, Marna Keith, Judith Barnes, Ellen Lee, Norma Hill, Ann Green, Ruth Powers, Barbara Buehler, Susan Barnes, and Francine Daner.

“When it comes to throwing parties, we like to go big,” says Barbara Blachly, resident services coordinator at Highland Springs, the Erickson Living community in North Dallas.

That fun-loving spirit was on full display at the community’s Mardi Gras celebration, where residents feted the occasion with a day of masked revelry, Dixieland music, and Cajun cooking.

“We have several residents with Louisiana roots,” says Blachly. “They played a large part in the day’s festivities.”

Partying in shades of green, gold, and purple

The party kicked off with a parade led by Danna’s Darlings, an enthusiastic krewe organized by resident Danna Parsons.

Chisholm’s Restaurant in the community’s Hillcrest Clubhouse dazzled in green, gold, and purple as the parade wound its way around the perimeter of the restaurant. With accomplished big band leader and Highland Springs resident Jack Melick at the piano, upbeat music set the stage for a lively celebration.

Partygoers, decked out for the occasion in masks and beads, clapped and cheered as community member Sam Davidson announced this year’s Mardi Gras court, led by Barbara Blachly as queen.

Members of the community’s Louisiana Club took the stage, providing a photojournalistic tour across the Bayou State, highlighting points of interest and offering up tidbits about Louisiana’s history and popular culture.

Louisiana Club member Ted Hole shared his retelling of Gaston Goes to Mardi Gras, by James Rice, and Sam Davidson led the revelers in the Highland Springs version of “Who Dat?” where residents guessed the identity of staff members based on their childhood photos.

“We’re a community that celebrates life, and our parties and fun events showcase the enthusiasm and wide range of interests of our residents,” says Blachly.

Fun-filled lifestyle awaits

Catherine Johnson started attending events at Highland Springs even before she moved to the community in 2011.

“I joined the priority list while Highland Springs was still under construction,” she says. “I lived just down Coit Road, so it was easy for me to attend events for priority list members. I knew this was a fun community with a lot to offer.”

Now that she’s lived at Highland Springs for nearly six years, Catherine says she appreciates the convenience of having activities and events just a short walk from her apartment.

“That’s one of the great features of living here,” says Catherine. “Our buildings are connected by climate-controlled walkways, so we don’t have to go out in bad weather. The fun goes on no matter what’s happening outside.”

‘Always up for a good time’

Of course, no Mardi Gras party would be complete without all manner of Cajun cuisine.

The theme for the morning brunch was “Breakfast at Brennan’s,” evoking images of the fine-dining landmark in New Orleans. Party guests enjoyed mimosas, eggs benedict, sausage, bacon, and biscuits and gravy, topped off with traditional king cake.

That evening, Chisholm’s Restaurant transformed into another notable New Orleans restaurant, Commander’s Palace, where guests dined on gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp and grits, fried catfish, collard greens, rice, hushpuppies, cornbread, and bread pudding with rum sauce.

“Our residents enjoy getting together to celebrate holidays and events throughout the year,” says Blachly. “They’re always up for a good time.”

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