Biloxi Prepares For A Century Of Mardi Gras Madness

The pageantry of the Gulf Coast Carnival Association's centennial celebration begins Monday night at the coast coliseum. A new King D'Iberville and Queen Ixolib will be crowned. And they'll reign over Biloxi's 100th Mardi Gras party.

The king of carnival is Biloxi attorney Ron Peresich. His queen is Annie Anderson.

Their reign marks a significant milestone in the rich history of Mardi Gras in south Mississippi. So, just hours before the coronation, the royal court had a couple of ceremonial glitches that had to be ironed out.

"Smile," parade chairman Bill Holmes kept telling the court.  But after a weekend of parties, and very little sleep, smiling at rehearsal wasn't easy.

Watching the practice from the stands was Peresich -- the Gulf Coast Carnival Association's newest King D'Iberville.

"I haven't had so much fun since I was a kid," he said.

The coronation ball is the formal part of Biloxi's Mardi Gras. Everything associated with toasting 100 years of this event has to be perfect to properly commemorate a century of GCCA fun.

"It's a great opportunity to be a part of a wonderful tradition," King D'Iberville said.

On the Biloxi parade route, the public works crew wasn't thinking about kings, queens, dukes or maids. It was focused on safety. Cleo Waits was on Porter Avenue with other public works employees, putting out crowd control fences. He called Mardi Gras the "busiest time of the year, without a doubt."

In the distance, children were already dreaming about what they could catch at the parade. And adults were preparing their properties for a crush of Mardi Gras guests. Louis Rash lives on Porter.

"Sometimes we have more people than we want here. But we always have a good time," he laughed.

Inside the Biloxi Mardi Gras barn, sponsors had some of their employees load floats with Mardi Gras collectibles. None of the people hanging beads will ride on the floats. But that didn't bother them. Jessica Waits said she had "no jealousy" about being at a Fat Tuesday party rather than on a float. And she called the bead organization, "the fun part of our job."

The Gulf Coast Carnival Association parade begins at 1:00 Tuesday afternoon. And the Neptune parade rolls right behind it. Both parades start on Main Street, and wind their way around downtown Biloxi.