If you own or lease land on the Biloxi parade route, you have prime party real estate. Just ask Bob Loomis. "It's always fun at Mardi Gras," Loomis said as he fenced off a parking lot. "But you've got to do it right."
Loomis restricted access to the Lameuse Street Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard area he's borrowing, so 40 friends can enjoy Fat Tuesday without fighting the expected crowds. "I want everyone to have a good time," Loomis said. "But it can get rowdy."
A few blocks away, Joe Brister worked on his barbecue pit. He expects the grill, his Howard Avenue parade perch, and yes, his toilet to get quite a workout during the three Biloxi parades. "You have incredible friends when you have one of those," Brister said. "I mean, friends you didn't know existed, friends you never met before. But you let the word get out you have a working toilet on the parade route, you have a lot of friends."
Speaking of toilets, BFI crews dropped off more than 100 port-a-lets at strategic points around the parade route. According to BFI worker Chris Riser, "It's not easy," unloading so many portable toilets. "But we've got to do it." Biloxi ordered 50 of the port-a-lets set up around town.
The city also lined the parade route with 750 metal barricades, 180 wooden barricades, 1300 feet of orange fencing, and 13000 feet of yellow caution tape, all that to keep people away from moving floats, and cars away from no parking zones.
Behind the yellow tape and the metal barricades were the Jarrells. The Pascagoula family came early to stake out the perfect parade position. "Yes sir." Johnny Jarrell said, "get on the front row. Get up front so we wouldn't have to worry about the traffic."
By being up front, the Jarrells will get a good look at this year's royalty. Paul Bertucci and Denise Haynes will reign over the 2001 Gulf Coast Carnival Association parade.
by Brad Kessie