Mardi Gras in Biloxi: A shower of beads

There may be a few raindrops on Fat Tuesday, “but it’s going to be raining beads, too,” says Bobby Watts, captain of carnival for Gulf Coast Carnival, who said the huge Fat Tuesday parade in downtown Biloxi is scheduled to roll at 1 p.m.

“We’re probably going to have a few showers, but we’ve talked to a meteorologist who said it looks like it’s also possible that we’ll have a window tomorrow afternoon. Basically, it sounds like we could dodge the bullet. Like I said, it may be some rain, but let people know it will be raining beads, too.”

The Gulf Coast Carnival Association parade – boasting 108 entries this year – is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., and will be immediately followed by the Krewe of Neptune.

Biloxi Police Chief John Miller suggests that parade-goers plan to arrive early.

Beginning at noon Tuesday, all southbound traffic on I-110 will be forced to exit at Bayview Avenue. The U.S. 90 and Division Street exits will be open to northbound traffic only.

“The other thing we’re asking,” Miller said, “is for people not to be in a hurry immediately after the parade. There’s no reason to get on the road immediately after the parade passes you. We’re not going to allow that, for safety reasons. We want everyone to come and have a great time, but we want them to have a safe time, too.”

Parade route: To print the parade route for downtown Biloxi — showing first aid stations and portable restrooms – click here.

Going to the Mardi Gras? Keep these safety tips in mind

Biloxi Police are encouraging parade-goers to have a spirited-yet-safe time at Mardi Gras. In order to make the occasion a safe one, officers ask that you obey city ordinances and follow these suggestions:

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. Watch for road closures on this web site in the days before the parade

— 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 parades

— Wear comfortable and layered clothing. Don’t 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.

— Refrain from bringing 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. Locations will be identified on this site in the days before Mardi Gras. Also, you 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 parades

— 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 immediately after the parade

— Drive defensively.