Pass Christian Prepares For Big Party

With the help of some state inmates, the Pass Christian Public Works Department put out about 700 barricades on Wednesday.

All around town, it's quite clear that the annual Mardi Gras parade is not far off--orange fencing and caution tape suddenly around every corner. All because in just a few days, the quiet community will become crazy.

"The busiest time we ever see," said Pass Christian Police Chief John Dubuisson.

It's so busy that the police department is constantly looking for new ways to control the crowds and stop problems before they get out of hand.

This year, expect something new.

"We're going to put some officers with cameras in areas where we had problems in the past to video the crowds in case something does happen, we'll have a pretty good picture of who is in the crowd at a certain time," added Chief Dubuisson.

This week, Chief Dubisson has also be making last minute checks on staffing, calling police departments from Waveland to Biloxi.

Without the extra assistance Chief Dubisson says, "there's no way that we could do it. We're a force of 24 officers and there's no way that we could handle a crowd of 65,000 people, which is what we're anticipating this time."

American Medical Response (AMR) has been working on Mardi Gras plans since the first of the year. 24 medical personnel will be on duty in the Pass in a variety of capacities.

"Over the past couple of years, we've realized that by utilizing ATVs, utilizing golf carts, and utilizing bicycles allow us to get into the crowd in a more quick manner than trying to get a big ambulance through the crowd," said Lyall Neumeier, a spokesman for AMR.

Chief Dubuisson says the Pass parade earned a bad reputation because of problems back in the 1970s, but things have gotten better.

Preparation for the big day is one way law enforcement tries to ensure the event is as safe as possible.