Gulf Coast Carnival Association traces its roots back to 1908 and Biloxi's first Mardi Gras parade, which included 17 floats, 150 flambeau carriers, the new 12-piece Herald Newspaper Band, a grand marshal, the mayor and the councilmen. The monarchs were the first King d'Iberville and Queen Ixolib.
Eight years later, The Biloxi Carnival and Literary Association was incorporated. Its purpose: "to promote the study of literature and particularly Greek mythology; to give an annual carnival and street pageant in the City of Biloxi, Mississippi, by artistic floats representing Greek mythology and historic events."
In 1929, the Biloxi celebration expanded to include other Coast cities, and around 1949 the Biloxi Carnival and Literary Association became the Gulf Coast Carnival Association. Biloxi's Mardi Gras has been celebrated every year except for war and Depression years.
Today the Carnival Association continues the tradition begun 98 years ago, with King d'Iberville and Queen Ixolib reigning over two parades in Biloxi on Fat Tuesday. The association has offices at the Magnolia Hotel in downtown Biloxi.
The Carnival Association is run by a volunteer board of directors. The board's executive committee includes:
- Chairman – Walter V. Williams
- Vice Chairman/Secretary – Jeffrey H. O’Keefe
- Treasurer – Christine Smilek
- Member at large -- Sherwood Bailey Jr.
- Member at large – James Haynes
- Member at large -- Peggy Schloegel
- Captain – Jerry Munro
- Lieutenant – Christopher Smilek
- Staff assistant Nancy Rogers runs the GCCA office.(432-8806 or email@example.com)