PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - The fun and frivolity of the annual Pass Christian Mardi Gras parade was shattered by violence in 2016. Two people were killed and two others hospitalized after a post parade shooting.
St. Paul Carnival Association sponsors the parade, and Police Chief Tim Hendricks went to board members to talk about making changes to this year's parade in an effort to enhance public safety.
"Number one, we want to bolster manpower. We want to have more barricades on the parade route. What impacts the general public most is we're moving it to 11:30 to start instead of 12 o'clock," said Hendricks.
That is the biggest change, moving the start time back half an hour to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. Hendricks also thinks making new parking rules will help.
"We allowed parking on 2nd St. last year only on the south side. We're going to prohibit that parking all the way from Davis to Market St.," Hendricks said.
More than 50,000 people attend the parade, which puts quite a burden on law enforcement.
The St. Paul Carnival Association Parade Board has agreed to changing the start time, the parking, and reducing the number of floats from 80 to 70. At one point, there was talk of altering the parade route. That's not going to happen this year.
Right now, the Pass parade begins and ends at Market St. and 2nd St. and weaves through the city. There is a chance officials might revisit the issue of changing the parade route next year. All of these steps are being taken with one clear goal in mind.
"We want everyone to have a good time but within reason," according to Hendricks.
The chief also announced a rigorous effort to enlist the help of area law enforcement agencies to help with the Pass parade on Sunday, Feb. 26.