Even the most casual observer could easily recognize that December in Natchitoches is the most wonderful time of the year. The thousands of brightly hued lights, thousands of joyful visitors and fireworks every weekend is enough to make Ebenezer Scrooge himself rethink his position on the holidays.
Mayor Ronnie Williams and Mayoress Tiffany Williams hold December dear to their hearts for many other reasons as well. The Williams celebrated their wedding anniversary this month and their oldest son, Micah, was also born in December. Being a Pastor as well, Mayor Williams family is no stranger to taking in the beauty and significance of the Christmas season.
The Williams met at Natchitoches Central High School and dated off and on through the years, getting married while they were in college at Northwestern State University. The Mayor worked his way through college and became an educator and she worked her way through scholars college and became an educator as well.
As Tiffany tells me, “ We are a natural team, we are hard workers who set goals and enjoy the journey.”
The journey led the young family to the Mayoral race during a year of a national pandemic, social unrest and was sworn in two days before one of two hurricanes that would hit the Natchitoches area.
When asked how well their children (Micah 8, Trae 5, Maesie 3) understand the historical significance of their dad becoming the first African American Mayor of the oldest town in Louisiana Mrs. Williams ever so eloquently replied, “ They have varying levels of understanding but they knew something special was going on because their daddy was very busy and very excited.”
Maesie, named after her Aunt Gloria May, loves to say, “My daddy is the Mayor”. Being the baby with two older brothers led me to ask if she was doted upon by her brothers or if she gets rough-housed often. Tiffany was quick to share the story of how each son loves to share their birthday with their baby sister. They wanted to make sure that she had a gift on their special day.
Being the Mayor and a Pastor, with a spouse who has a flourishing career as an Implementation Support Specialist for Great Minds, PBC, and three healthy and vibrant children at home you would think there was little time for fun and games. The Williams family loves to play games as a family, watch movies and take in the local sights in Natchitoches. Mrs. Williams even taught the Mayor how to play Chess. With his competitive nature he plays to win and will not easily give up or just let her win.
When asked who was the better cook, without hesitation Tiffany shared, “The Mayor tries to boil water on low, I am the cook and he is the dishwasher. He uses way too much dish soap and insists on washing by hand. Refuses to use a dishwasher” However, she did give him props for cooking a few things during this Pandemic.
To get to know our Mayor and family better we had a fun round of quick Christmas questions:
Prefer clear lights or colored lights: Definitely clearly lights (and she is OCD about her matching wrapping paper)
Favorite Christmas Movie – hers is a tie between movies inspired by the Charles Dickens novel “A Christmas Carol” and the 2018 animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas. His would be “Home Alone”
Who is the funniest in the household- Mayor Ronnie Williams, hands down, is known as a jokester.
Does their family have an Elf on the Shelf – Yes, they have “Sparkles” but she could not come this year due to quarantine. They are abiding by CDC Guidelines and limiting visitors. Sparkles did send her warmest regards to the children though.
After celebrating Christmas in Natchitoches every single year until Mayor Williams was elected, this year just felt different. According to Mayoress Williams, “We needed Christmas this year, we couldn’t let the worst year ever end without festival or fireworks”.
“Christmas has always been special to us, we always experience lots of joy and wonderment and seeing the City through the eyes of our children this year has been extraordinary. We are supposed to feel the joy of the season.”
While speaking with Tiffany about Christmas in Natchitoches I began to wonder when was the last time the Mayor had children living at home. To the best of her recollection she thought it was Mayor Joe Sampite. I reached out to my friend, Sheila Sampite, to find out how old her and her siblings were when Joe was elected and to see if she had any advice for the Williams children.
Sheila reminded me that Joe’s first year in office was 1980 and she was 10 years old. Her siblings were 15, 17 and 18 at the time.
Her best advice for the new Mayor’s children was, “To enjoy every minute you have with your dad! He will work long important hours, so find that special thing you like to do together. For me and my dad we loved to watch football and basketball. We watched and attended many games which included the Chiefs, Tigers, Demons, Cowboys and Saints! We went to church together on weekends and were able to attend many community events. Your dad will be invited to a lot of really cool things, take that opportunity to attend with him. I learned so much about state, local and city government during the years my dad served as Mayor, but most of all I learned what it means to serve others selflessly!”
Merry Christmas to our new Mayor’s family and thank you for bringing back the “I love Natchitoches” stickers. We do love Natchitoches.
“I can do all things who Christ who strengthens me”. – Philippians 4:13