Enthusiastic crowd steps out for Biloxi Mardi Gras

About 45,000 spirited parade-goers turned out for Biloxi’s Mardi Gras parades this afternoon, far shy of the usual throng of 75,000 to 80,000, and those who braved the intermittent showers and overcast skies were being hailed by carnival organizers and Mayor A.J. Holloway.

“These people here today were the Mardi Gras diehards,” said Lieutenant of Carnival Richard Schmidt. “They got a real show, everything we had. Between Gulf Coast Carnival and all of the 108 units in our parade and Neptune, we threw more than a million beads. The per capita bead count was through the roof.

“We appreciate everyone who turned out. A big thing we noticed was how many people came up to shake hands and say thank you to the National Guardsmen pulling the floats. It was phenomenal. We saw that over and over.”

Mayor A.J. Holloway, meantime, said he also appreciated the Fat Tuesday turnout, but disputed the police department’s crowd estimate.

“I think it was far more than 45,000,” the mayor said with a smile. “They had the enthusiasm of a crowd of 100,000. Biloxi is known for a great Mardi Gras, and today we showed that we can do it rain or shine.”

To see hundreds of photos from in and around City Hall, before, during and after the parade,
click here.