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Rodriguez is NGC Queen

NATCHEZ — For the 2019 Natchez Garden Club Queen, coming home for Spring Pilgrimage is like coming home to a life that is both busy and exciting, she said.

Elena Christina Rodriguez, daughter of Jack and Linda Rodriguez, said she has been heavily involved with the Historic Natchez Tableaux since she was a young girl — like her mother before her.

Born in the oldest community on the Mississippi River, Natchez and pilgrimage have always played a role in Rodriguez’s upbringing as she filled several roles herself while being involved in her community, she said. Rodriguez participated in the little maypole, big maypole, can-can and polka dances and portrayed a polka favor girl, the bride in the wedding and a placard bearer.

“I grew up in Natchez, and have grown up being a part of pilgrimage, doing the tableaux and being involved with the garden club,” she said. “I get to see it through a different pair of eyes through my mom. Being a part of the NGC and pilgrimage and represent them in the best way that I can is a blessing. I’m honored — so honored — to be representing my town through the tableaux.”

Rodriguez has a variety of hobbies, including traveling, photography, roller skating, kayaking, hiking and theater, but she especially enjoys socializing, she said.

Rodriguez is a 2016 graduate of Trinity Episcopal School and is pursuing her bachelor of arts degree in public relations and her minor in psychology at Mississippi College in Clinton, she said.

Rodriguez is a member of the dean’s list, honor’s list and is the judicial chair of the Kissimmee Social Tribe at Mississippi College and is also an intern for public relations and advancement at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Ridgeland.

After a short vacation to Puerto Rico visiting with family and friends, Rodriguez is using her spring break to live a royal dream — one that started in her earliest years of involvement with the NGC — to reign as the 2019 Natchez Garden Club Queen, she said. 

“My parents have always said I’ve wanted it since I was really young, so when I was asked I was more than delighted, blessed and excited to be a part of it and to represent them and the city of Natchez,” Rodriguez said. “These next two weeks are going be busy, which I am very excited about. It’s going to be busy but fun.”

A queen cannot lead her hometown through its most festive season without dressing the part, and Rodriguez said her gown is extra special.

“My dress is made by Sandra Stokes,” she said. “She began her retirement last year but came out of retirement to make my dress. She has been making my dresses for pilgrimage since I was younger and wanted to continue that tradition, so I am forever blessed by her. She has a very close relationship with my family.”

Rodriguez is representing the magnolia state in a soft-white colored gown suitable for a Southern wedding, with a floral diamond pattern embellished with pearls.

“We wanted it to be one of a kind, without too many ruffles or not like anything the town has seen before — to make it special in a way.

“I think it’s beautiful. … I wouldn’t mind wearing it to my wedding, but maybe not the hoop underneath,” Rodriguez said, laughing. “We can talk about that later. I’m not getting married anytime soon.”