Your 2021 homecoming royalty, off the halftime field


Brianna Corley

From left to right, Tja’h Edwards, Miss Northwestern State University of Louisiana, Matt Nelson, Mr. NSU, Madeleine Hensley, homecoming queen and Darrin Nixon, homecoming king, chatting before the start of their interview.

Tja’h Edwards, Matt Nelson, Madeleine Hensley and Darrin Nixon laugh as they attempt to work the reclining black office chairs in the Current Sauce office.

Edwards, a senior biology major donning a Northwestern State University of Louisiana shirt, is Miss NSU. Nelson, a senior accounting major who leans into the center conference table as he talks, is Mr. NSU.

Hensley, a senior communications major dressed in a dark long sleeve, is homecoming queen. Nixon, a ​​junior psychology major on his lunch break from his job at AT&T, is homecoming king.

On Oct. 23, 2021, they will stand on the green turf of Turpin Stadium under bright lights as homecoming royalty. In the lull of a Tuesday afternoon, they are NSU students between work and class.

“I like to make people laugh. I like to make people smile,” Edwards said. “I like to sing. I enjoy self-care. I’m all about just making time for yourself.”

Edwards finds a strong connection in her home, New Orleans. She loves her culture and to have fun. Edwards enjoys cooking, and will talk to herself and pretend she’s on a chief show as she prepares her food.

“I’m a country girl through and through,” Hensley began, “I’d like to think I’m a woman of all trades.“

Hensely lives on a farm, owns cows and plants a garden every summer. She works at Merci Beaucoup. She loves waiting tables as she feels she gets to know everyone through her job.

“I’ll say that I’m a pretty personable person,” Nelson said. “I just like to get to know different people.”

Nelson feels it’s important to spend time with friends and family, and spoke on having the fear of missing out when friends come into town. He noted he rarely missed the opportunity to hang out with friends.

“I think I’m just now getting to accept who I am as a person,” Nixon said. “I’m a fun person at times. I can crack jokes.”

Nixon enjoys tennis and has been playing it, as he describes, long enough to be okay at it. He explained his passion for working with his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha.

While homecoming king and queen are official members of the Homecoming Honor Court, Mr. and Miss NSU are separate from it.

The two positions were originally not a part of homecoming, but the voting for Mr. and Miss NSU was coordinated into homecoming in later years.

Regardless of their titles, Edwards, Nixon, Hensely and Nelson were all voted into their positions by their peers.

“It’s kind of like a legacy that I’m leaving, in my mind,” Edwards said.

Edwards felt she had worked hard and that people recognized that. She made it clear she wasn’t attempting to sound unhumble. Edwards expressed she wanted to recognize her own hard work.

“The man I am today wasn’t the person I was when I came to NSU,” Nelson said. “Where I ended up, it’s literally just humbling and appaling.”

Nelson described becoming Mr. NSU as a reflection of his four years on campus.

“It’s just really an honor. It means a lot to me and it’s something I won’t forget,” Nixon said.

Nixon stated being voted homecoming king was an indication his work and growth had been acknowledged and noticed.

“Genuinely, thank you, from the bottom of my heart,” Hensley said.

Similarly to Nixon, Hensley felt being voted homecoming queen validated her positions and the work she has done.

“I mean, I’ll speak for all of us. We’re all just really hard workers,” Hensley said. “We love people and we love talking to people. If you ever see us, come up to us.”