Facebook brings woman from Australia to Mardi Gras in Biloxi - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Facebook brings woman from Australia to Mardi Gras in Biloxi

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By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - "I'm here. I'm here to see Mardi Gras," said Marina Tenuta.  "I'm so excited. I'm so overwhelmed."

Tenuta was giddy with excitement Tuesday as she waited for the Gulf Coast Carnival Association parade to start on Main Street.  Afterall, she traveled thousands of miles just to experience Mardi Gras -- South Mississippi style.

When asked what she has been hearing about Mardi Gras, Tenuta replied: "Oh, everything. The excitement, catch the beads, and the fun. And I'm here with my boys."

Tenuta is from Melbourne, Australia. She met Randy Lyons and Sandy Simmons of Lucedale two years ago on Facebook.

"And we talk every day, sometimes three times a day on Skype," said Tenuta. "Then they invited me here, so I decided to come."

"She brought an extra half of a suitcase just so she can take the beads home," said Simmons.

"Oh, it's exciting. I'm shaking all over," Tenuta said.

Her excitement reached a fever pitch as the first float rolled by. Within minutes, she received her first Mardi Gras kiss and she caught her very first bead.

"Oh, thank you! Oh, I got one," she exclaimed. "It's excellent. The floats are so good."

It was a Fat Tuesday experience she will never forget.

"I want her to see how people in the United States are friendly and how we like other people, what a good time we have and what a generous spirit the people of Mississippi have," said Simmons. "Here's Mardi Gras. Come and join us. You're not from here, but welcome to our culture and you're welcome anytime."

Tenuta will have plenty of beads and other trinkets to take home. That's because she's sticking around to catch another South Mississippi favorite, the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

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