"Real People" Takes To The Streets Of Bay St. Louis

The Coast's only predominately African American Krewe, The Krewe of Real People, rolled through the streets of downtown Bay St. Louis Tuesday. It's Real People's 23rd annual parade and, despite the threat of rain, turned out to be one of the biggest ever.

The Krewe of Real People's "Fantastic Voyage" theme incorporated plenty of Tropical Places and Friendly Faces.

"A lot of people, when they go out for relaxation, they always go on a cruise ship. The faces that you see are friendly and we're going to try to promote the same atmosphere today, just friendly faces," Krewe Co-Captain Sandra Price said.

Friendly faces could be found in the crowds as well as on the floats. But its what "Real People" stands for that lets revelers know they are coming out for a real down to earth Mardi Gras Party.

"Just like it says, it's real people, it's normal people. It's not the ones like Endymion where you have all these doctors and lawyers, this is more real. This is not high society this is everybody," Waveland resident Chele Walley said.

"You don't have to be rich to be in this parade, Al, you just ride," Krewe member Charles Johnson said.

"Real People to me means anybody who can walk, talk, or be pushed in a wheel chair. They're all real people no matter what color, no matter what race," Krewe member Sidney Cuevas said.

And they came to let it all hang-out. Harrison County Supervisor William Martin served as the parade's Grand Marshall. Department Of Human Services worker Debra Swanier reigned as Queen and Casino Dealer Maurice Payne reigned as King, a royal dream come true.

"This was the only parade I came to when I was young and I always wanted to be a part of something like this and today is finally here," King Payne said.

A Fat Tuesday he and these parade goers are likely to remember for a long time.

by Al Showers