Overturned floats and scattered trinkets greeted Gulf Coast Carnival Association captain Jerry Munro last Thursday as he saw the group's warehouse for the first time since Hurricane Katrina dealt a hard blow to South Mississippi.
"We think we're gonna have to do a lot of repairs on probably 10 of the floats. Some of the pictures your photographer shot are on their sides where they came off of the actual trolley that sits underneath it and we have to pick them back up and put them back on it and some of them that are still on their sides, we don't know how much damage there's gonna be when they pick them back up," said Munro.
About 12 out of the 21 floats only sustained minor damage. In other words, he considers his group pretty lucky.
And that "luck" is the light that is guiding Munro to make this decision.
"We're gonna do a Mardi Gras parade this year," said Munro.
On February 28th, the Gulf Coast Carnival Association will let the good times roll as it has for 98 years in Biloxi.
Right now, the group only plans to have one parade that day, but Munro believes it must be done.
"It's part of what we do. It's our history, it's our background. For me, it's a prideful thing that I can put my name on this year's parade or last year's parade and kind of have your thumb print etched in time. I enjoy doing it for the little children on the sides of the roads..when I see them smile when they catch their beads and see the grandparents there and starting the tradition over and over," said Munro.
The group has not yet decided on a theme, but Munro says it will definitely have something to do with survival.
"I'm really looking forward to this year's Mardi Gras because it's a true rebuilding of the coast and this is a tradition that needs to go forward," said Munro.
Munro says if you have a private float or are part of a marching group and would like to participate in the parade, call the GCCA office at 432-8806 for more information.