The College Cheerleaders/Classic Cars, or CC/CC, 2012 grand marshal is Brigadier General Clarence KK Chinn, commanding general of the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk.
"He is considered to be a true soldiers' general," said CC/CC chair Jimmy Williams in a telephone interview Tuesday, Jan. 31.
In selecting CC/CC grand marshal, Williams said they try to honor somebody who's involved in the community and consider Fort Polk and Leesville to be part of the community.
Special guest of honor is Josh Mercer, who suffered a traumatic brain injury that ended his football career at Alexandria Senior High.
Williams said Mercer is being recognized as someone who is doing exceptionally well in overcoming severe hardship.
The 5th annual College Cheerleaders/Classic Cars Parade, sponsored by Hixson Autoplex, will begin at 4:30 p.m. and will follow the same route as Saturday's Children's Parade in downtown Alexandria last year.
The downtown Alexandria route goes from Murray to 5th, Jackson to 4th, and 3rd to St. James Street.
About 50 units are expected, Williams said. "Sometimes people show up unexpectedly and then some that say they're coming don't show up," he said.
Some classic cars arrive on trailers but some are driven here, Williams said.
"We have them coming from Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi -- it depends on what the weather is in those areas, whether or not, you know, a lot of times they'll come or not," he said.
"We'll have a couple of floats for the soldiers that have just come back from overseas," Williams added. "We honor them as well."
The parade will feature classic cars paired with cheerleaders from colleges and universities in Louisiana and Arkansas.
Taste of Mardi Gras coincides with the Alexandria Mardi Gras weekend to offer visitors a Friday night event immediately following the CC/CC parade at 6 p.m.
The Alexandria Mardi Gras Association's 16th Annual Children's Parade will start 10:45 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, through downtown Alexandria; from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday is a King Cake Party at the Alexandria Zoo. At 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19, the AMGA 19th Annual Krewes Parade will take place around the Alexandria Mall.
The 2012 Children's Parade Grand Marshal is Justine Ker, 2011 Miss Louisiana's Outstanding Teen, along with International Guest of Honor, Consul General Leo M. Herrera-Lim. CenLA author David Luck is 2012 AMGA Grand Marshal for the Krewes Parade.
For additional information, go on-line at www.alexmardigras.com or contact AMGA President Chris Chelette at (318) 443-1200 ext. 108 or (318) 623-7359.
In case of rain Friday, Feb. 17, Williams said car owners who wished may be added into the Saturday parade or perhaps Sunday, though it is already a long parade. But that's one of those things they just "play by ear," he said.