Coast Gets Ready For Mardi Gras 2002

Robert McCoy owns the lot at the corner of Porter Avenue and Howard Avenue. "The parade stops and turns at that corner," he said. "That's why everybody wants to be right there."

McCoy will turn the corner into party central. He's hired somebody to cook 1,500 pounds of crawfish. Plus, McCoy trucked in cases of pretzels, chili and beer.

The entrepreneur figured his corner was a prime parking spot. So he posted a sign. For $60, 11 people can rent a parade route parking space. "That's what they told me to charge," McCoy said. "People in the area, they just said $60 for a good spot."

At Lameuse Street and Martin Luther King, VFW Post 2434 got ready to fire up its grill. Tuesday's parades will be the first time the Howard Avenue unit uses Mardi Gras as a post fundraiser.

Howard Tupper is with the VFW post. He said, "If you're going to be here for the Mardi Gras, why not turn it into something that will be worthwhile to a lot of our veterans."

Mardi Gras brings people from all over the country to South Mississippi. Emma Ryan is from California. Her first Mardi Gras experience was four years ago. "It was so exciting that I come back every year."

Ryan's custom is to park her Winnebago next to the Biloxi lighthouse. That's where Biloxi police had orders. No campers could stay in the parking lot until Monday morning.

David Richardson originally brought his camper to the lighthouse parking lot last week. But police sent him home. So he came back Monday morning, determined to stay until Mardi Gras ends. "By tomorrow morning, everything will be filled with cars, with everybody out here holding spots for their buddies. So, you gotta get out here and get your spot while you can."

Emma Ryan remembers what police said when she first arrived. "They wouldn't let us park here," she said. "And I can understand why, because it gets kind of rowdy sometimes. But it's still so much fun."

Biloxi police have this warning for parade goers. If you park near the railroad tracks tomorrow, your car will be towed.