Zulu queen and king hope to be Catholic role models
One would never have known by looking at Georgette Mims on Jan. 10 that she was shy or someone who wasn’t always dressed to the nines. Her hair was coiffed, her makeup impeccable and her dress formal. But as she told fellow workers and clients at the PACE Center–St. Cecilia, where she is clinic manager, they shouldn’t expect her to look like that when she returned to work the following week.
“I am not a glam person at all,” the 46-year-old said. “I told people that come Monday, don’t ask me where the makeup is. I don’t even wear foundation!”
Mims was presented that day, alongside her husband, Garren Mims, as the 2014 King and Queen of Zulu. As the 98th king of Zulu and the 77th queen, PACE (Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) was the first of the royalty’s stops around the community. They are the 29th married couple to reign as king and queen.
Georgette Mims takes her reign seriously. She said being Zulu royalty is not a commitment of just a year or two.
“It’s a lifetime commitment,” she said. “Once you are king and queen, you are always king and queen. Your name does not get erased. ... You continue to represent, regardless if you are actually reigning or not. You are talking about image.”
Good role model
Mims said since her husband selected her as his queen, she has matured with all the responsibilities.
“It has made me a better person and pulled out a better me,” she said. “Sometimes, you don’t see you have qualities that others see, but when it comes out of you, it makes a better you. It certainly has increased my confidence and self-esteem.”
She said she has learned to be more of an extrovert, especially when it comes to public speaking, which she has done a lot as Zulu queen, including a stop to St. Mary’s Academy, which her daughter Gabrielle attends.
“It is allowing my children to be prouder of who their parents are,” she said.
It’s also given her the opportunity to be a role model, to show people that success in life doesn’t matter where you come from. She grew up in the Lower 9th Ward, and her mother still lived there before Hurricane Katrina and lost everything.
Goals can be achieved
“I think, overall, people think they can’t be ‘that image’ or achieve ‘that goal’ but, because they can see me as an ordinary person who is approachable, honest and receptive to whatever comes my way (maybe they, too, can achieve something),” she said. “I’ve always had the ability to make that impact, but didn’t have the opportunity that I do now. I can go out and say I have struggles just like you have, but I have gained the maturity that I have now to overcome any adversity that comes my way.”
Mims, a registered nurse, said her long career has led her to work with the indigent and underserved populations, first with the state and now promoting quality of life and health care with the elderly at PACE.
She was raised in the Catholic faith, and that taught her to love and care for others and know that there was always someone to turn to during difficult times.
St. Jude novenas inspiring
“I understood the value of having God in your life,” she said. “I’ve seen the struggles of my mom and dad, and I saw how important St. Jude novenas were to her and then to me. When there were novenas before school, we went. My mom instilled the importance of having Christ in my life. I attended Catholic schools all my life, and knew I wanted to raise my children Catholic.”
Her husband converted from Baptist to Catholic last year, and she was his sponsor at Our Lady of Guadalupe (St. Jude). She credits God for helping her endure the rigors of being Zulu royalty.
“I know that it was God who got us through all of this,” she said. “This is not an easy journey. Trust me, we had a lot of support, and without that support, we wouldn’t be as strong as we are.”
Mims considers it an honor to share her reign with her husband and family. Gabrielle, 16, is a royal princess, and their sons Garren Jr., 18, and Gabriel, 12, are royal princes. Her sisters Joycelyn Williams, Yolanda Webster, Eileen Hines, Evette Bradford and sister-in-law Paula Baptiste and her St. Mary’s Academy friend Terri Jackson and Kasii Mimms and Juwan Torregano also are on her court.
“I get to present as a family, a functioning family in a positive way,” she said. “I can speak to the success story of Garren and myself in terms of education. I cannot find the words that bring enough joy that I can say – ‘Look at this family. Garren and I are 20 years strong, and we are a happy family.’ There is still hope for families.”