2020 GCCA Dukes Announced

Gulf Coast Carnival Association Sponsors Reception at Golden Nugget Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi on February 8, 2020. Photo by James Edward Bates Photography.

Frank Ryland Bertucci

Frank Ryland Bertucci of Gulfport is the husband of Laine Vanveckhoven Bertucci.  They are the parents of Ryland Jr, Mary Grace, William and Henry Bertucci.  He is a graduate of Gulfport High School.  He received his degree in Economics in 2007 from Louisiana State University, while there he was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity where he served as social chair for one year. He is director of sales and marketing at F.E.B. Distributing in Gulfport. He is part of the fourth generation in the family business that has been serving the Mississippi Gulf Coast since 1934.

He is past board member Mississippi Coast Restaurant & Beverage Association.  He is a member of the LSU Alumni Association MS Gulf Coast Chapter, Mississippi Beer Distributors Association, National Beer Wholesalers Association Next Generation Group, The Revelers, Gulfport Yacht Club and Bayou Bluff Tennis Club.  He and his family attend St. James Catholic Church in Gulfport. Ryland served as a page to King d’Iberville in 1994.  His grandfather, Frank Bertucci, served a King d’Iberville in 1961.  His father, Frank E. Bertucci, served as Duke in 1986, Co-Captain in 1991 and 1992, King d’Iberville in 1994 and Chairman of the Board in 2002 and 2003.  His uncle, Paul Bertucci, served as a Duke in 1988 and 1994 and King d’Iberville in 2001.  His sister, Lee Anne Bertucci, served as a page to Queen Ixolib in 1991. His brother, Jeff Bertucci, served as a page in 1994 and a Duke in 2019.

Brian Joseph Dubaz

Brian Joseph Dubaz of Coppell, TX is the husband of Rose Marie Dubaz.  They are the parents of Briana Dubaz. He is a graduate of Biloxi High School where he played football.  He received football scholarships to continue his education at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and University Louisiana at Lafayette.  He played football at MGCCC and for the All-State team where he was selected All State game MVP.

He volunteers his time with the North Central Texas Area Agency on Aging, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and Metro Crest Food Bank in Dallas, TX.  He is a member of the Slavic Benevolent Association where he has served as vice-president and president.  He is a football official with the Mississippi High School Activities Association. He is past president of the St. Johns Parish Council.  He is a has been a member of the Knights of Columbus for 30 years as well as a member of St. Ann’s Men’s Club. 

Brian is a member of the Gulf Coast Carnival Association crawfish boiling team.  His daughter, Briana Dubaz, served as a Maid in 2017.  His uncle, Roy Bellande, was King d’Iberville in 1964.

C. Patrick Johnson

Patrick Johnson of Ocean Springs is the husband of Kaylee Elder Johnson.  They are the parents of Noah and Brooks Johnson.  He is a graduate of Ocean Springs High School. He attended Louisiana State University where he received a bachelor’s degree in Finance.  At LSU he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity.  He later went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.  He is a sale representative for state and local government with Google.

He and his family attend St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Ocean Springs.

Patrick’s wife, Kaylee Elder Johnson, was a Maid in 2013.  He father-in-law, Jeff Elder, was a Duke in 2003, lieutenant of carnival in 2018 and 2019 and currently serves as Captain of Carnival.  

Leo Ernest Manuel

Leo Ernest Manuel of Biloxi is the husband of Ashley Cosgriff Manuel. He is a 1997 graduate of Mercy Cross High School.  He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Louisiana State University in 2001 where he was awarded the Ben Burns Award for Best Senior Design Project.  Following graduation, he attended the University of Richmond where he received both a Juris Doctorate, cum laude, and Masters in Business Administration.  While a student at Richmond, he sat as an articles editor for the University of Richmond Law Review and the co-chair of the student government social committee.  In 2005, he began practicing law with the Gulfport, Mississippi law offices of Balch & Bingham, LLP, where he is now a partner.  His practice consists of energy law, commercial litigation and contract law.  He also serves as chair to the firm’s pro bono committee.

He has served for several years on the Board of Directors for the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce.  He is a 2010 graduate of Leadership Gulf Coast and a 2019 graduate of Mississippi Economic Council’s Leadership.  He is a member of the American Bar Association, Mississippi Bar Association, Energy Bar Association, Harrison County Young Lawyers Association, Gulfport Business Club, Coast Young Professionals Club, and Biloxi Yacht Club.

Leo served as page to King d’Iberville in 1991.  His father, Larry Manuel, served as Duke in 1991.  His brother, Maurice Manuel, was a flag bearer in 1991.  His brother, Charlie Dellenger, served as Duke in 2016.  His niece, Caroline Dellenger, served as a page in 2017 and a flag bearer in 2019.

Mark Patrick Loughman

Mark Patrick Loughman of Gulfport is the husband of Leslie Peenstra Loughman.  They are the parents of Meg, Patrick, and Caroline Loughman.  He is a graduate of Hattiesburg High School. He received his bachelor’s degree from Millsaps College and a master’s degree from Yale University.  Today he is the director of environmental affairs and shared services for Mississippi Power Company in Gulfport.

He is a member of Gulfport Yacht Club where he served as commodore in 2018.  He is a graduate of Leadership Mississippi, Leadership Gulf Coast, The Gulf Coast Business Council’s Masters Leadership Program, and Leadership Jackson County.  He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for The Nature Conservancy and the Mississippi Wildlife Federation.  He is also a past-president of the Mississippi Main Street Association.  He and his family are members of St. James Catholic Church.

Richard Charles Schmidt, Jr.

Richard C. Schmidt, Jr. of Biloxi is the husband of Cecilia Gollott Schmidt.  They are the parents of Jack, Heath and Ann Lauren Schmidt.  He is a graduate of Biloxi High School where he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.  He is a graduate of Mississippi State University earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management as well as a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.  He is the owner of Barry’s U Pull It Auto Parts, Inc. in Theodore, Alabama.

He is a member of the Biloxi Bay Chamber of Commerce, the Biloxi Diamond Club where he is a past president, a board member of Big Red Athletic Foundation and a Hancock Bank Biloxi market board member. He and his family attend Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church.  He is a member of the MSU Alumni Association.  He serves on the board, is a crawfish boil cook team member and 5K committee member for Gulf Coast Carnival Association He is member of the Biloxi Yacht Club where he was a past commodore and Mississippi State University Bulldog Club.

Richard served as a page in 1983, a Duke in 2009, Lieutenant of Carnival in 2012 and 2013 and Captain of Carnival in 2014 and 2015.  His grandfather, Dr. Harry J. Schmidt Sr., served as King d’Iberville in 1950.  His father, Dr. Richard C. Schmidt, Sr., was a Duke in 1989.  His brother Gavin J. Schmidt, Sr., was a Duke in 2004, Lieutenant of Carnival in 2006 and 2007 and Captain of Carnival in 2008 and 2009.  His wife, Cecilia Gollott Schmidt, was a Maid in 1990. His son Jack Schmidt was a flag bearer in 2008.  His son, Heath Schmidt was a flag bearer in 2012 and a page in 2013.  His daughter, Ann Lauren Schmidt, was a flag bearer in 2015 and page in 2016.

Billy F. Thornton

Billy F. Thornton of Gulfport is the husband of Sylvia Tollison Thornton.  He attended Long Beach High School where he graduated with Honors and was voted friendliest. He went on to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College where he earned an Associate Degree in General Business. Among his many student honors and leadership roles, Billy was elected president of the freshman class, president of the Student Body, Mr. JD and graduated with Honors. He was inducted into the MGCCC Alumni Hall of Fame in 2019. After graduating from MGCCC, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Administration and Personnel Management from the University of Southern Mississippi, where he was tapped into the circle of Omicron Delta Kappa, a National Leadership Honor Society. He also graduated from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School’s executive master’s program.  In 1988, Thornton received the opportunity to work in Congress as executive assistant to U.S. Congressman Larkin Smith, R-Mississippi, until the Congressman’s death in 1989.  He currently serves as Mississippi Power’s Vice President of External Affairs and Shared Services, joining the company’s Management Council in 2012.  He is responsible for oversight of several departments, including Governmental and Community Affairs, Economic Development, Environmental Affairs, Public Relations, General Services, Corporate and Foundation Giving, Supply Chain and Technology Organization.

Thornton is a graduate of Leadership Mississippi and the Masters Leadership Program Gulf Coast. He serves on the boards of the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Museum, Mississippi Manufacturers Association, Mississippi Energy Institute, Center for Manufacturing Excellence at the University of Mississippi, the National Oceans and Applications Research Center (NORAC) as an appointee of the governor and the Gulf Coast Business Council Board of Directors. He was also an appointee of the governor to the Mississippi Business Finance Corporation. He has also served on the board for the United Way of South Mississippi.

Robert T. Watts, Jr.

Robert T. Watts, Jr. of Biloxi is the husband of Kathy Watts.  They are the parents of Katelyn Watts Braswell and Austin Watts.  He is a graduate of Biloxi High School.  He attended Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, University of Southern Mississippi and University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry where he earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine in 1987.  He went on to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for specialty training in oral and maxillofacial surgery. He is a partner in Gulf Coast Oral and Facial Surgery.  He is a past president of the Mississippi Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and past president of the Mississippi State Board of Dental Examiners.

He is a member of the Sunkist Country Club and Bayou Bluff Tennis Club.  He and his family are members of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church.

He served as a Duke in 1997, Lieutenant of Carnival in 2010 and 2011 and Captain of Carnival in 2012 and 2013.  His daughter, Katelyn Watts Braswell, served as a flag bear, a Maid in 2013 and as Queen Ixolib in 2014.  His son, Austin Watts, served as a flag bearer in 2007.