Biloxi Cleans Up Its Trashy Mardi Gras Mess

Abraham Grisby had a small broom in one hand, and a dust pan in the other. Surrounding him was a Mardi Gras mess that had Grisby scratching his head. "You know I wouldn't go somewhere and do this," he said.

Seconds later, he grabbed a cooler somebody left behind and poured out its contents. It smelled a lot like urine. That lack of respect is why Grisby said he doesn't like Mardi Gras. "I wouldn't care if it flooded them out yesterday. That's exactly what I wanted it to do."

Grisby wasn't the only person on the post Mardi Gras clean up crew who felt that way. Biloxi public works employee Joey Miller said he hates Fat Tuesday. Here's why. Biloxi used almost a thousand barricades to keep parade goers away from floats. His crew put the barricades in place before Mardi Gras. And the public works employees spent the day after Mardi Gras lifting every one of those barricades into an 18 wheeler.

"I've been doing the same thing for 25 years," Miller said, "and I hate it." His colleague Stephen Hart thought it was "too much work. Way too much work. Not worth the money." But the clean up must go on.

And so crews left their feelings behind, put on gloves, and dove into their often disgusting jobs. According to Jurvis Lizana, "I think this is the worst I ever saw it after Mardi Gras."

One of the items Lizana had to throw away was a cardboard sign.  It said an Ohio family came to Mardi Gras. But instead of taking the sign home, or throwing it away, the family left it on the sidewalk. Some of the clean up workers said the litter is what they hate. Others said it's just part of the Mardi Gras mayhem.

According to sand beach employee Richard Meadows, "It don't get me mad. I mean that is all part of it you know. That is what Mardi Gras is all about."

It may take a week for clean up crews to bag up the empty boxes, the cans and the other debris that Mardi Gras revelers left behind.

Biloxi police didn't try to guess how many people attended yesterday's parades. From what they could tell, it was the largest turnout in Gulf Coast Carnival Association history.

by Brad Kessie