Mardi Gras krewe builds elaborate float from ground up

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Beads and doubloons will be flying this weekend as five Mardi Gras parades are scheduled to roll. Members of one krewe are always trying to create a float that out shines the year before, and they do all the work themselves.

When several South Mississippi families first came together to design and construct a pirate ship shaped Mardi Gras float, it was far from smooth sailing.

"We've literally had to replace everything. All the wood, take it all apart, break it down to nothing but a frame. Put it back together," Brandon Stephen said.

The Krewe of Pardi Gras Pirates rolls in the D'Iberville parade and in the Fat Tuesday parade in Biloxi. Every year, members try to give their float something new and exciting for the crowd to see.

"We added eyes to the float that glow. We put teeth on it to make it look like a shark," said Stephen.

"Next year hopefully we're planning on riding in the Ocean Springs night parade and we're going to have the fog machines going and flashing sensor lights."

Elaborate decorations will adorn the float. The krewe also goes to great lengths to buy specialty beads to make people smile.

"We decided to do it after Katrina," said Katrina Stephen.

"With all the devastation we wanted to give something back to the community because so many lost so much. We were really worried Biloxi wasn't going to be able to do it. It was just wonderful seeing the faces of all the people that were in the crowd actually enjoying themselves."

For this krewe, Mardi Gras wouldn't be complete without the Teaser Tiger, a large stuffed animal Brandon Stephen brings out to parades.

"I've had it for about eight years. I never throw it," said Brandon.

"I bring it up there. I lift it up in the air. Gets the crowd going, they go crazy. I just set it right back down. I'll just throw them some beads."

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