Mardi Gras: One big parade in two parts on Feb. 20

Biloxi will host one Mardi Gras Day parade again this year – down from three of pre-Katrina years – but organizers report that it will be a huge parade in two parts since the Krewe of Neptune is returning this year.

Representatives of key city departments met last week with organizers from Gulf Carnival Association and Neptune to review plans for this year’s parade, which rolls through downtown Biloxi at 1 p.m. on Feb. 20, Mardi Gras Day.

“We expect about 100 units or more, just like last year, compared to the 60 or so we saw in the pre-Katrina day parades,” said Captain of Carnival Jerry Munro. “It’s one parade in two back-to-back parts, with Gulf Coast Carnival followed immediately by the Krewe of Neptune.”

Neptune, which did not roll last year, is expected to have 10 floats in this year’s parade.

Gulf Coast Carnival — which in 99 years has seen its Mardi Gras parades sidelined only in times of world war or in the Depression era — is still accepting entries for this year’s parade. Floats have a $50 entry fee, and those displaying names of sponsors face a $300 fee. (Details: 432-8806 or Deadline to register is Feb. 7.

The city last year, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, scaled back the number of Mardi Gras Day parades from three to one because of the demand on public safety and Public Works employees, and because access to downtown is limited to the I-110 bridge.

“We realize that people are looking for the day when we’re able to return to three parades on Mardi Gras Day, and we’ll get there, but we’re not quite there yet,” Mayor A.J. Holloway said. “Public safety continues to be the primary concern, and we want people to be able to get in and out of the city in a timely manner, which is impossible without the U.S. 90 bridge between Biloxi and Ocean Springs.”

To see the route for the Feb. 20 parade, click here.

The Children’s Mardi Gras Walking Parade will make its way through downtown Biloxi on Feb. 3. Organizers are seeking registrants for that parade now.
To read more about the parade and sign up, click here.

The city is also providing special seating for the frail and elderly on the Town Green on Mardi Gras Day. To read more about this service and how to sign up, click here.

Trees by the numbers

Since FEMA authorized cutting standing dead trees in the surge areas, the Biloxi dead tree removal program has included 515 right-of-entry applications submitted for property in the surge area. A breakdown of those numbers:

—390 ROEs inside surge area approved by FEMA/MEMA (270 ROEs completed inside surge area, and 120 ROEs currently approved and scheduled to be worked)

—57 ROEs still under FEMA/MEMA review

—68 ROEs deemed ineligible by FEMA/MEMA

—As a result of the 515 ROEs, 2,072 trees have been pre-validated by FEMA/MEMA in the surge area, and 1,089 ROE trees have been cut, removed and disposed of in the surge area

Tree Removal ROE forms can be obtained weekdays from the Community Development, 676 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.; from Neel-Schaffer, 772 Howard Ave. or on the city’s web site at To see a form now, click here.

With a Feb. 28 deadline looming for debris removal, property owners are encouraged to file the ROEs as soon as possible.

News and notes

Downtown addition: The Peoples Bank expects to have its new four-story, 30,000-square-foot expansion completed by Fall 2007, according to bank executives. The new building will house several bank departments now in nearby buildings, along with a training room and meeting space. To see an artist’s rendering of the new building, as seen from Howard Avenue and showing the “flying bridge” that will connect the new building to the existing building, click here.

City auction: The city’s surplus property auction on Saturday – where dozens of vehicles, heavy equipment and other merchandise was auctioned – grossed $208,000.

City Council: Reminder: The Biloxi City Council meets Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. at CIty Hall. For background on the meeting, click here.