Prichard Mardi Gras Assoc. rolls without Grand Marshal amid embezzlement case

(IMG:WPMI) Prichard Mardi Gras Assoc. rolls without Grand Marshal amid embezzlement case

The Prichard Mardi Gras Association Parade rolled through the streets in regular fashion but this year they rolled without a Grand Marshal.

"He's not in the parade," PMGA President Reginald Crenshaw said.

The Mayor's former Chief of Staff, James Blackman, who's accused of embezzling more than $100,000, held the title as Grand Marshal but Crenshaw says they decided to pull him out.

"Because of what went on with his situation in Prichard knowing that he's innocent until proven guilty, we just thought that it was the best interest of the organization not to have him ride," he said.

After his first arrest Blackman made bail and attended the PMGA gala to serve as Grand Marshal. Crenshaw says they didn't expect him to show up.

"He showed up at the gala because he had sold 50 tickets," Crenshaw said. "We weren't expecting him but he came and we weren't going to put him out."

Some who live in Prichard say the association made the right decision not to have Blackman reign as Grand Marshal at the parade.

"He shouldn't be out here not after doing his people like he did them after they put that much trust in him," Prichard resident John Lofton said.

"They did the right thing by taking him out because he's not representing what's right," Normal Cunningham said. "You don't deserve to be honored this day."

They say although the city has problems they don't want them to outweigh the city's Mardi Gras celebration.

"I don't want to put any kind of bad feeling on Prichard Mardi Gras," David Pettway said. "We'll deal with that later."

Blackman is scheduled to be back in court on March 19th for his preliminary hearing.