On Wednesday, Yaga’s Entertainment named James Henderson and J.P. “Hap” Hunnicutt III as its 2017 George P. Mitchell Mardi Gras Award recipients.
The city of Galveston declared Feb. 25, 2011, as George P. Mitchell Day and the Mardi Gras! Galveston festivities kicked off with a parade in his honor, the Salute to George P. Mitchell Parade. Mitchell, a philanthropist, developer, founder of Mitchell Historic Properties, and visionary behind the revival of Mardi Gras! Galveston was the inspiration for the annual George P. Mitchell Mardi Gras Award.
This award was established to honor Mitchell and other individuals, corporations, foundations, and groups vital to Mardi Gras’ rebirth and preservation. Each year the recipients are honored with a ceremony in front of The Tremont House and names are added to a plaque that hangs in the lobby of The Tremont House then the Salute to George P. Mitchell Parade honoring him, and the award recipients begin marking the start of Mardi Gras! Galveston festivities.
During the revival of Mardi Gras! Galveston in 1985, the Krewe of Maximilian was formed with the devotion and support of Henderson and Hunnicutt. After being called upon to assist in the efforts by key members of the revival, both gentlemen were delighted to gather their closest friends and use their resources to help in the restoration of Mardi Gras! Galveston.
Henderson has been active in Mardi Gras! Galveston for 32 years in both the Krewe of Maximilian and the Knights of Momus. He and his wife Anne have been married for 28 years and have two daughters, Claire and Holly. James was a co-founder of the Krewe of Maximilian and its first king, and older daughter Claire was queen of Momus in 2011.
The Hunnicutt family has properties in the city of Galveston and Galveston County, and they particularly enjoy their beautiful home in Lafitte’s Cove on the island’s West End. His love of Galveston encouraged him to begin participating in the re-establishment of the Mardi Gras festivities. He was a founding member of the Krewe of Maximilian and later was honored to be its third king. Hap’s sister, Jenny, also served as the Krewe’s first queen.
The duo will be presented with the George P. Mitchell Mardi Gras Award at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 2, 2018, at a ceremony in front of The Tremont House. The Salute to George P. Mitchell Parade honoring Henderson and Hunnicutt will begin at 7:30 p.m. from The Tremont House and will travel through the Historic Strand District.
Mardi Gras! Galveston festivities will take place Feb. 2-13, 2018. Full parade schedule and entertainment lineup announcements will be made on www.mardigrasgalveston.com.