Mardi Gras mess keeps "Krewe of Clean-Up" busy on Wednesday

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Mardi Gras party on Fat Tuesday means a massive clean-up project on Ash Wednesday.

Many Mardi Gras revelers were likely still in bed when the early morning clean-up workers hit the streets. Street cleaners and trash pick-up crews got started at seven o'clock in downtown Biloxi.

As usual, there were plenty of unwanted leftovers along the parade route. It is the ugly side of Mardi Gras. City clean-up crews get the annual chore of picking-up after the parade.

"We're moving along pretty good here today," said city worker Anthony Gazzo.

You might call them the "Krewe of Clean-up." As workers hit the streets with shovels and rakes and trash bags, the city's motorized street sweeper begins making the rounds.

By late morning, city workers are putting a serious dent in the post-Mardi Gras mess.

"We're picking up Mardi Gras leftovers. Cans, bottles, debris. Everything you can think of down here today," said Gazzo, who has been picking trash off the parade route for seven years.

Now that there's just one Fat Tuesday parade in Biloxi there's noticeably less litter.

"I'd say it's not as bad as it has been. After Katrina there it kind of mellowed out with just one parade instead of three parades. Everything's a lot different now, not too bad," he said.

A strong stomach is a good asset for facing the post-parade mess.

"Yeah, it's pretty gross. Pretty gross," said one city worker as she unloaded a trash bag filled with empty cans and half eaten chicken wings.

As workers continued their sweep, three ladies staged their own clean-up, snagging strands of beads from trees.

"We're cleaning up Biloxi. We're getting the beads out of trees. We come every year and do it," said Jennifer Lucas.

"Oh we get a lot! I must have over 5,000 beads already," she said.

Ten-year-old Casey enjoys the unusual annual project.

"I think it's very helpful and very fun. And you get exercise by walking around," she said, as her mom plucked some more beads from the treetop.

You might call this mess the hangover after the holiday. Dozens of workers will spend much of the day picking-up after others.

"It's quite a chore here to do this today, but it's good. A good thing that everyone enjoyed themselves," said Gazzo.

The City of Biloxi staffed its clean-up crews with employees from the Parks and Recreation department, along with Public Works.

Along with picking up tons of trash, work crews were also taking down the metal barricades and orange fencing along the parade route.