Streets packed for Pascagoula parade

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX)- Thousands of people wait all year for the Jackson County Carnival Association's Mardi Gras Parade. It rolled through Pascagoula on Saturday afternoon.

"I look forward to it every year," said Glamordine Harrison.  "Every year."

Harrison and her son, Rauchon both decked out in their purple, gold, and green. Harrison said she and Rauchon travel all over the coast every Mardi Gras season, but this is her favorite parade.

"This one is fantastic, fantastic," she said.  "This is my hometown, Pascagoula Mississippi."

As the 88 unit parade headed through the streets, excitement was on every corner. Onlookers screamed for beads, moon pies, and a piece of South Mississippi tradition.

"This is our favorite parade to come to," said Heather Bond, holding her young daughter Gabrielle.  Bond said although Gabrielle isn't even old enough to stand on her own, she's no parade novice.

"She has to learn about it early because she's going bot do it the rest of her life," Bond said with a laugh.

Some people said the smiling crowd was as large this year as ever.

"We have 88 entries this year, which is about the same we've had for the last several years," said Judee Stanford, president of the Jackson County Carnival Association. "We were afraid with the economy like it is that it wouldn't be as many as in the past, but it really is."

Perhaps the loudspeaker from one of the floats explained it the best.

"Pascagoula, Mississippi, this is Mardi Gras, baby! Make some noise!"

Organizers say the economy is not affecting visitors' Mardi Gras experiences either.  One family traveled from as far away as Oregon to capture this piece of Jackson County culture.

"We have people coming from all over the place," said Stanford.  "I get calls from Jackson and Tennessee and all different places, for people coming down for Mardi Gras. And thank goodness its' a great day for it."

This parade proved that once again, the Pascagoula parade is something the entire county can be proud of.

"We're glad to have it, it's getting bigger every year," said Bond.  "So it's exciting for the kids and for everywhere else."

The parade was led this year by Grand Marshall Fletcher Songe.  The Pascagoula High School  and the Moss Point High School bands both marched.