Volunteers Catch Fat Tuesday Fever In Biloxi

Some parade revelers have never acted this wild before. And they have never been pelted with so many shiny trinkets, toys, even t-shirts.

"This is a kick. I love the music, the people, just the fun," said Wanda Niles, a volunteer from Colorado.

The Fat Tuesday fun is a new experience for the 17 Habitat for Humanity volunteers. It didn't take the first-timers long to catch the Mardi Gras spirit at the GCCA parade. They are used to holding hammers, not grabbing beads.

"It's crazy. Absolutely crazy," said Tony Slats of Wisconsin. "It's unbelievable and it keeps right on going. We got a bunch of grandchildren, seven grandchildren, so we're like shopping for them."

"We're having a great time, but we're here to do something good as well," said Molly Stevens of Oregon. "I've never been to it before. It's crazy."

"This is the day off," said Colorado volunteer Bill Niles. "Tomorrow, we go back to building houses. Nobody does anything down here on Fat Tuesday, right?"

It's a side of South Mississippi the volunteers will never forget.

"Seven months after the hurricane, there was no laughter. No people. This is amazing," Wanda Niles said.

The Habitat volunteers are building houses in Harrison and Hancock County. Some of them are in town to prepare for an upcoming visit by former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn.  The couple will arrive in May to help build Habitat houses in Pascagoula.