BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - "Vote for Babe." That's the slogan a Coast woman is using in her quest to change an ordinance that prohibits horse and carriages from operating on Biloxi city streets. Kali Highbaugh said with enough public support, she and her horse Babe can become a tourism asset.
Highbaugh said she realizes the safety concerns that can come from mixing cars and horses, but she said she's had plenty of experience doing just that. She spent five years working for a company in Houston that provided horse and carriage rides. Now she'd like to start a business doing the same in Biloxi.
Other than chewing on grass in the pasture, Highbaugh said there's nothing Babe likes more than pulling people around on a carriage. Some business owners said having Babe trot tourists through the streets of Historic Downtown Biloxi would draw people to the area.
"I think it would be really good for the businesses around here," said restaurant manager Aubrey Belk. "I'm completely behind the idea because I like bringing a little piece of New Orleans here."
There will be no horsing around in Biloxi because of a city ordinance banning horse and carriage rides on public streets. Highbaugh, owner of Beaux Chevaux Carriages, said if the rule changes and she is granted a permit, she'll restrict the rides to the Downtown area and away from high traffic roads.
"We're definitely not going to go on 90. We're going to stay on the streets on this side of the city. We look for places people want to see. The nice places," said Highbaugh. "The drivers learn they're always looking behind them and always looking ahead of them to see what could be coming. Knowing what's behind them at all times."
Of course, one concern about horses on the street is the mess they could leave behind, but Highbaugh said she has that covered.
"They do use the bathroom. We have poop bags that go behind them so nothing goes out on the concrete." said Highbaugh. "She is bathed every day she comes Downtown. She is clean. Her harness is clean. The carriage is clean. Everything is really neat and tidy."
Biloxi officials said before the ordinance could be amended there would have to be a public hearing. Also, if the buggy rides are allowed, a set of regulations would have to be set up to dictate how and where horse and carriage businesses must operate.