Committee Krewe


They may have titles, but every member is involved in all aspects of pulling together Mardi Gras Festival. We would also like to thank the volunteers who help with parade coordination, cleanup, setup, etc.

The event is fully self-funded by generous donations by our sponsors, parade and vendor registration fees. We’d also like to thank Craig Powell Photography for allowing us to use his photographs from Mardi Gras 2020.

Mardi Gras flag on porch

Tia Higgins, Mardi Gras Chair, Sponsors

Tia moved to New Bern 3 years ago from Concord, NC. She’s originally from Ohio. Tia is a hairstylist and owner of Southern Pixie Salon and Spa.

This is Tia’s first year on the Mardi Gras committee. One of the reasons why she and Marty bought their house in Ghent is because of the Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras flag on porch

Marty Higgins, Vendor Coordinator

Marty moved to New Bern 3 years ago from Concord, NC. He has been doing paint/body work for 29 years. You can find Marty at Toyota of New Bern.

This is Marty’s first year on the Mardi Gras committee.

Steve Kelly, Entertainment Coordinator

Steve has lived in Eastern NC most of his life and in Ghent since January 2006. He says there’s a sense of community in New Bern that can’t be surpassed, and finds that feeling is especially true in Ghent.

Steve, along with Vana Prewitt, founded “Ghent” Mardi Gras, organizing the first small event in 2015. Steve’s been retired from MCAS Cherry Point for more than 15 years, retired from Down East Folk Arts Society a few years ago, and produced the Twentieth Century American Composers live music revues at the Gallery at the Bank of the Arts for the first four years of that series.

Mardi Gras flag on porch

Dan Drummond, Volunteer Coordinator

Mardi Gras flag on porch

Dustin Burdis, Communication & Permitting

Cyndi Papia, Mardi Gras Website Developer, I.T. Chair

Cyndi moved from Massachusetts to New Bern in May 2018 and to Ghent, October 2018.

She is a freelance website developer and virtual assistant. Cyndi started her business, Office To-Go, in 1998.

This is Cyndi’s third year on the Mardi Gras committee. She is on the Ghent Neighborhood Association as a member-at-large, and volunteers for many New Bern events. She can be reached at

Mary Traina and Bella

Mary Traina, Parade Coordinator

Mary moved here 5 years ago from Chesterfield, VA. Of all the neighborhoods in New Bern, Ghent is the one that spoke to her the loudest. After attending her first Mardi Gras in 2017, I decided Ghent was the perfect place for me.

Mary’s two cats, Boots and Beenie, and dog, Bella, allow her to take up residence on 8th St. Neighbors on 8th St have welcomed her and she cannot imagine living anywhere else in New Bern.

“Thanks to the Mardi Gras committee for hunting me down, I mean seeking me out to be a part of the Krewe!” This is Mary’s third year on the Mardi Gras committee.

Linda Grzeika, Parade Coordinator

A lifelong resident of Connecticut, Linda, and her husband Tom, retired to New Bern in August of 2019. They have two grown sons, one granddaughter, and two Maltese-mix pooches named Bailey and Buddy.

“My husband and I love New Bern and we’re happy to be part of the Ghent/Trolley Run neighborhood,” said Linda. “Getting involved in events like the Mardi Gras parade, helps connect us to our new community.”

Mardi Gras flag on porch

Nancy Hill, GNA Treasurer

Nancy is a Pennsylvania native who spent 20 years in Texas before arriving at last in New Bern in 2011. She’s a gardener and cat lover, and found what she joyfully calls her perfect home in Ghent.

Nancy worked for Bank of America for more than two decades, most recently as a Process Designer in the area of Consumer Lending and Small Business and retired in 2021, making her the ideal Mardi Gras accountant. This is Nancy’s third year on the Mardi Gras committee.