HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Violence like what happened along the Mardi Gras parade route in Ocean Springs Saturday has Bay St. Louis police on alert. Captain Wes Mayley said the Bay Saint Louis Police Department is ready to keep revelers safe and happy this carnival season by letting them know where roads will be closed and when to stay off the roadways.
Bay St. Louis residents young and old say each year, they enjoy the family-friendly atmosphere at their city's Carnival festivities.
"I never miss it," Denise Kimbrel said. "My kids love it. They're getting older and like to walk the streets, and I'm okay with that. I'm comfortable, and I don't feel like they're in danger."
Captain Mayley said in order to keep it that way, he and his department are trying to anticipate problems ahead of time. They're warning folks about the traffic jams they'll face this Sunday when trying to get around before and during the Krewe of Nereids parade.
"We'll have a sequence of events starting at 9:30 a.m., we'll start closing the streets. Between 10:00 a.m and 10:30 a.m., we'll begin the contraflow efforts, and that's when traffic becomes more difficult, with more congestion," Mayley said.
The parade begins in Bay St. Louis at Drinkwater Rd. and Highway 90, and ends in Waveland at Highway 90 and Waveland Ave. If you're trying to get to work that day anywhere near this route, before the parade starts at noon, you may not be able to get through.
"We have a lot of problems from nearby businesses. Employees know about the parade and understand the impacts, however, employees are still late now and then, and we try to accommodate them on a case by case basis."
He also said 45 minutes after the parade ends, traffic near the intersection of Highway 603 and Kiln-Waveland Rd. will need to be controlled to let the floats leave. Bay police are working with other agencies to boost their manpower. They've also requested double barricades from outside agencies not using them this weekend.
Mayley said the Krewe of Kids and Krewe of Knights parade next week should not impact traffic. But roads in downtown Bay St. Louis will be blocked off for the Krewe of Diamonds parade on Mardi Gras day.