Fat Tuesday parade to feature more than 120 units

More than 120 units will take part in the Gulf Coast Carnival Association parade Tuesday, representing one the largest parades in the 101-year history of Biloxi Mardi Gras.

In fact, says Gulf Coast Carnival Lt. Kenny Holloway, “When the king’s float is crossing the finish line, we’ll be wrapping the entire route.”

The 2.8-mile route includes seven downtown thoroughfares: south on Main Street, west on Beach Boulevard, north on Lameuse Street, west on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, south on Reynoir Street, west on Beach Boulevard, north on Porter Avenue, and east on Howard Avenue, ending at Caillavet Street. (To print a map of the route, click here.)

Holloway, brother of Mayor A.J. Holloway, was at the Coast Coliseum Tuesday, where he and Gulf Coast Carnival Capt. Gavin Schmidt were rehearsing for tonight’s tableau, where King d’Iberville Rick Carter Sr., Queen Ixolib Dewey Elise Brashier and their royal court will be formally introduced to the public.

Advance tickets to view the ball are available at Biloxi City Hall, Biloxi Main Street, the Coast Coliseum, Harrison County Tourism Commission, and the Sun Herald, or you can show up Monday night and tickets will be available. Those attending should arrive by 7:30 p.m. and seated by 7:45.

Police to limit traffic downtown beginning at 11 Tuesday

Biloxi Police Chief Bruce Dunagan reports that police will begin their Mardi Gras traffic plan Tuesday morning, and traffic will be limited in the hours before the 1 p.m. parade.

Southbound traffic on I-110 will be forced to exit at Division Street beginning at 11 a.m. Tuesday, and U.S. 90 will be reduced to two-way traffic in the southernmost lanes between Bellman Street and White Avenue beginning at 11:15 a.m.

The Gulf Coast Carnival Association parade will begin at 1 p.m. and is expected to end about 4:30 p.m., Dunagan said.

“We’re asking everyone to have a fun and safe Mardi Gras,” Dunagan said. “Our officers will be on the look out for under-age drinking.”

A few tips to help you enjoy your Mardi Gras experience

The Biloxi Police Department offers the following safety tips for those attending the Gulf Coast Carnival Association parade on Tuesday:

Traffic and parking

— Carpool and anticipate traffic delays. Appoint a designated driver.

— Obey the commands of officers at intersections. Many streets will be closed and traffic will be re-routed in downtown Biloxi.

— Park only in legal parking spaces. Make sure that your parked vehicle provides ample room for passing vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Fire trucks and other emergency vehicles require wide berths for maneuvering streets in the older, downtown section of Biloxi.

— Do not park too close to the railroad tracks. Vehicles have had to be towed in the past and trains had to be halted because motorists had parked too close to the train tracks.

— Do not park in the Biloxi City Cemetery north or south of the railroad tracks. No parking is allowed there.

At the parade

— Wear comfortable and layered clothing. Dont wear loose-fitting or flashy jewelry.

— Follow any instructions police give you. Officers from Biloxi as well as from neighboring cities and jurisdictions will be posted along the parade route.

— It is unlawful to cross police barricades, which line most areas of the parade route.

— Remember, it is unlawful for minors, anyone under 21 years of age, to consume alcoholic beverages.

— Leave your animals at home, unless they are registered entrants in the parades. It is unlawful to bring reptiles or other animals to parades. Loud noises and crowded streets put undue stress on animals.

— Do not bring glass containers to the parade. Use plastic instead.

— Place any refuse in trash cans along the parade route.

— Use portable restrooms along the parade route. You also can find medical assistance at locations along the route.

— In the event of lost children, contact the nearest police officer. Remember what your child was wearing.

After the parade

— Do not attempt to operate a vehicle if you are under the influence of alcohol.

— Follow the directions of officers posted along the routes. Many streets will still be closed and traffic may still be re-routed immediately after the parade.

— Expect traffic delays and heavy traffic. Drive defensively, and be wary of pedestrians.