NEW ORLEANS Endymion will have an African-American member reign as king for the first time during the Mid-City parade that ends at the Superdome for its annual Extravaganza.

George LaFargue, Jr., a New Orleans native and member since 2005, will roll with the superkrewe on Feb. 18.

'Growing up as a small boy in the lower 9th Ward of the city, I could have never envisioned one day being King of a Mardi Gras krewe. There are no words to truly express the depth of my heartfelt gratitude, appreciation and the excitement I feel at this honor,' LaFargue said.

He graduated from Francis T. Nicholls Senior High in 1982 and went on to own George's Produce in Terrytown, a tradition passed down from his father after decades of being located in the French Market.

He has fathered two children, Joliet-Cheri and George, III, with his wife of 23 years, the former Chanel Esnault.

'Our krewe was among the first to diversify its membership,' said Mr. LaFargue. 'Mardi Gras is for everyone, so it goes without saying that krewe roundly welcomes me as our first African-American King.'

He is also a member of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club where he serves as a Soulful Warrior.

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