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Mardi Gras Season Rolls Across Mississippi Coast

By Evelina Burnett | Published 02 Mar 2014 07:10pm | comments
Gulf Coast Carnival Association royal court costumes on display at the Mardi Gras museum in Biloxi (photo by Evelina Burnett)

Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, the day that marks the height – and end – of the Mardi Gras season. MPB’s Evelina Burnett looks at the economic impact of all the revelry. 

Thousands of people will pack the streets of Gulf Coast cities today and tomorrow for the last of this year's Mardi Gras parades. But the festivities - and the spending – started weeks ago.

"There's several smaller groups that start after New Year's, and there are balls every weekend," says  Eileen Mahoney Ezell, chairman of the Gulf Coast Carnival Association, the coast’s biggest carnival group. "We have the costume designers, the people who make the costumes. You've got to have evening gowns, rental tuxedos. You have parties with caterers - it's unending. 

"And then Mardi Gras day, we have an impact - we estimate 125,000 people on our parade route so that's a big impact economically to the cit y of Biloxi."

Janice Jones with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau says, for coast residents, Mardi Gras is a tradition that not even the worst storm could stop.

"Post-Katrina, there were people who really didn't think Mardi Gras would take place in 2006 because you still had so much debris," she says. "But all of the cities really pushed to be able to do the Mardi Gras parades, because it was important to the locals."

The Gulf Coast Carnival Association parades tomorrow at 1 p.m. through downtown Biloxi. There are also parades in Gulfport and Bay St Louis. 

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Gulf Coast Carnival Association royal court costumes on display at the Mardi Gras museum in Biloxi (photo by Evelina Burnett)


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