It’s all over except for the cleanup

City crews today were picking up the pieces left behind by a Mardi Gras throng that police say numbered as many as 80,000 paradegoers.

A team of Public Works laborers this morning began picking up the 2,200 barricades, hundreds of traffic cones, and tons of broken beads and other trash that littered the 2.8-mile route through downtown. County crews helped picked up Mardi Gras debris from U.S. 90 between I-110 and Porter Avenue.

Neptune rolled Saturday night and Gulf Coast Carnival paraded Fat Tuesday. Both crowds numbered between 75,000 and 80,000, police said.

“Our crews should have everything picked up in the next few days,” said Public Works Director Billy Ray Allen. “It’s not only an appearance thing, but it’s a matter of making sure the trash and beads don’t find their way into our storm drains. As hard as we try, you’ll still see beads hanging from trees and in other places for months and months.”

So what’s the key to a successful parade? “First,” says Biloxi Police Chief John Miller, “it has to be an event where it runs smoothly, and there are no complaints or at least not too many. Second, it has to be one that’s safe, where there are no major incidents or injuries, and, third, everyone should have fun.”

And with those characteristics, Miller said, both Neptune and Gulf Coast Carnival were successful parades.

Said Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich: “This presentation was a credit to all of those folks who have worked for months to make this Mardi Gras season such a success. The parades, of course, are the finale, but we thank all of those who made it happen.”

City Hall reviewing stands, by the way, will remain in place for the Hibernia Marching Society St. Patrick’s Day parade, dubbed “Mardi Gras Lite” in some circles. Hibernia rolls Saturday, March 12.
Gallery: Gulf Coast Carnival photos
Video: Neptune video clips
Bonus: More Gulf Coast Carnival photos
See previews of Hibernia and Grillin’ on the Green