Workers clean up annual Mardi Gras mess

By Steve Phillips – bio | email

BILOXI, MS  (WLOX) - The parade fun on Fat Tuesday gave way to "Trash Wednesday" the day after the celebration.

Thousands of Mardi Gras revelers left behind lots of litter in downtown Biloxi.

It's an Ash Wednesday ritual for clean-up crews. Sand beach workers pick-up the parade litter from the medians and Highway 90.

"Basically everything on the highway you see. Working our way from one end to the other," explained Dan Hodges, who works for the Harrison County sand beach department.

While there are plenty of people who pick up their own mess, there are many more who consider the streets and sidewalks a free-for-all dump.

"Mainly beads. Bags that the beads were in. Doubloons. Trash. Basic stuff," said Hodges.

It's a bit like the hangover that comes after celebrating too much. Workers like Carlton Reed face the task of dealing with whatever parade fans discarded.

"Basically clean up, the same thing we've been doing for many a years. It's just like washing' dishes; you've gotta have it done," he said, smiling.

As Reed and his fellow workers tackle Howard Avenue another Biloxi work crew spruced up the town green.

"Oh, we've got too much trash," said one worker, lifting a too-full bag from the trash can.

They've got mounds of Mardi Gras mess to remove from streets and sidewalks.

"A lot of beads!" one clean-up worker admitted.

Beads and beer bottles and food wrappers and an assortment of mess you can only imagine; all are job security for those assigned the clean-up.

While city workers and sand beach crews are certainly keeping busy cleaning up this mess, we also met a one man, volunteer clean-up crew who sees opportunity in some of this litter.

Raymond Ferdinand picks up hundreds of empty aluminum cans, which he recycles for 53 cents a pound.

"Picking up all the cans. Trying to get paid," he explained, "Can't stand the word "broke".  Get off the corner. Get paid. That's what you do, get paid."

City workers admit the clean-up may take awhile, but they're confident of the outcome.

"But we'll get the job done!" said one worker, as he put a new trash bag into the barrel.

Workers say they'll get a good start Wednesday, but the post-parade clean-up project will last for several days.

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