Weekend preview: Beads, balls, strikes and more

It’s all about Mardi Gras this weekend. Or is it? Actually, there’s a whole bunch more in this weekend’s lineup of entertaining diversions.

First, MGM Park offers two days of baseball, with college match ups tonight (Jackson State vs. Texas Southern) and a high school triple header on Saturday (games at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.).

The Fab Four, yes, that Fab Four, rolls into the Hard Rock this evening, while you’ll find Johnny Mathis and legendary comedian Gary Mule Deer at the Beau Rivage, and Jennifer Nettles at the IP.

And then there’s Mardi Gras. Neptune rolls Saturday beginning at 5:30 p.m. in downtown Biloxi and Gulf Coast Carnival takes over the streets of downtown Biloxi Tuesday beginning at 1 p.m. By the way, in all you’ll find a dozen parades rolling between now and Fat Tuesday.
See the weekend entertainment lineup
Read more about the MGM baseball games
City Desk: Hear the inside story on Neptune parade
Visit Mardi Gras Central


All roads lead to the Mardi Gras, but some will close

One of the big questions paradegoers have each year in downtown Biloxi is what times does the police department begin shutting down roads on the parade route. Here’s the word from Maj. Jim Adamo, operations commander at the Biloxi Police Department:

On Saturday, for the 5:30 p.m. Neptune parade:

— At 4 p.m., U.S. 90 will be reduced to two lanes from Bellman Street to G.E. Ohr Street.

— At 5 p.m., the parade route itself closes to vehicular traffic.

— At 5:30 p.m., the parade begins.

— About 6:30 p.m. all lanes of U.S. 90 should be re-opened to traffic.

On Fat Tuesday, for the 1 p.m. Gulf Coast Carnival parade:

— At noon, U.S. 90 will be reduced to two lanes from Bellman Street to Gill Avenue and I-110 south of Division is closed.

— At 12:30 p.m ., the parade route closes to vehicular traffic.

— At 1 p.m., the parade begins.

— About 4 p.m. all lanes of U.S. 90 should be re-opened, along with I-110 south of Division Street.
Video: See the city’s Mardi Gras safety tips
See the Neptune parade route
See the Gulf Coast Carnival parade route


City Desk: Get the inside story on Neptune

The Krewe of Neptune has a few brightly colored surprises this year when crew members take to the streets Saturday evening. Officer Chet Landry, who guests on this week’s “City Desk” podcast, has the inside dope on the type of throws, the numbers and styles of floats and best places to watch the parade.
Listen to the City Desk podcast


‘Barricade brigade’ makes it happen for Mardi Gras

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich, who has a degree in mathematics and likes to say numbers are his friend, would get along just fine with the city’s “barricade brigade,” the handful of Public Works laborers who help set up pedestrian and traffic controls for the city’s two Mardi Gras parades.

This week, the barricade brigade has been all about numbers, too.

In the past week, the 15-man crew has:

— positioned 2,360 barricades, with each barricade measuring 8-feet long and weighing about 65 pounds each.

— erected 9,000 feet of orange fencing and planted 1,000 poles to support the fencing, which is affixed with 2,500 plastic zip ties.

— augmented the orange fencing with 10,000 feet of bright yellow caution tape.

— positioned 70 wooden barricades near U.S. 90 and the CSX railway, and placed 25 Krails (plastic barriers) to help control traffic.

— placed 700 traffic cones of varying sizes ready to be positioned at key locations along the parade route.

“It’s a good week-long project setting up for Mardi Gras,” said barricade crew foreman Cleo Waits. “When you think about it, most of the barricades will be touched two or three times by the crew when you consider that a good number of the barricades will be moved since Neptune and Gulf Coast Carnival have different routes.

“It’s one tired crew by the time Wednesday rolls around.”
See the barricade crew in action 


News and notes

Diamond Rebs: This evening’s college baseball matchup at MGM Park is merely the beginning of things to come. Ole Miss, the nation’s eighth-ranked squad, will make its MGM Park debut when the Rebels face Nicholls State on Tuesday, March 14 at MGM Park. First pitch will be tossed out at 7:05 p.m. Ole Miss Alumni Association members are being advised that sections 103, 105, 107 and 109 have been designated for Rebels, and mentioning promo code OM2017 at online checkout means a discount. For online ordering info, click here.

Challenger League sign up:  The Parks & Recreation Department is currently holding sign ups for its Special Needs Challenger League Baseball.  The program, open to all children and adults with physical and mental challenges, begins Saturday, March 18 at 9 a.m. at the A.J. Holloway Sports Complex.  For more information, call the Parks & Recreation office at 228-388-7170.