"This is like the Creole love right here," said Steve D'Angelo as he stirred a big pot of red beans and rice. He is spicing up Mardi Gras this year in Bay St. Louis.
"God Almighty. I'm a vegetarian, and I'm going to eat it," joked a friend as he watched the chef at work.
D'Angelo owns the "Bay City Grill." He helped organize a block party in the Depot District, where the Krewe of Real People prepared to roll through.
"Let people know it's time to have fun, and start living life again. That's the only way to bring it back," said D'Angelo.
And boy did they come back. As bands marched, and floats rolled by, a large crowd lined Blaize Avenue to soak in the fun and leave their storm worries behind.
Karen McAlister had never experienced a Bay parade before Tuesday.
"Because I needed it. I needed it. My friend asked me to come and normally I'm working," said McAlister.
A man watched the festivities from his lawn chair.
"I don't have a car. I don't have a house. I don't have all my animals. My dogs were destroyed and I'm just trying to survive until everything comes together."
When asked why he came to the parade, he answered, "To have a good time."
For friends Susan Underwood and Paula Hughes, it was also their first time to take part in the Fat Tuesday tradition.
"I moved here in August, just before the hurricane. We moved our last piece of furniture in on August the 5th. I love it here, and nothing's going to run me off," Underwood said.
It's a tradition so many people in the Bay-Waveland area will treasure even after the party's over.
The organizers of the block party call themselves the "Krewe of Renewal." They plan to hold a raffle and donate half the proceeds to help rebuild a park in Old Town Bay St. Louis.