JACKSON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Every Mardi Gras season, people line the parade route in Pascagoula to watch the floats roll down Ingalls Avenue, but this Mardi Gras season the sidewalks will be empty. The Jackson County Carnival Association has canceled their 2021 Mardi Gras parade.
Jackson County Carnival Association Vice President David Grafton said insurance for the parade jumped from $2,000 in 2020 to around $20,000 for 2021. On top of the increasing cost, COVID-19 cases are also rising, so the JCCA turned to the Pascagoula City Council and Mayor Dr. Steve Demetropoulos for advice regarding public safety.
“Normally we’ll see anywhere from 20 to 30 thousand people that come to Pascagoula for the event,” Demetropoulos said. “There’s just no way to keep people socially distanced and prevent some type of super spreader event.”
Gautier also looked at safety concerns. The Gautier City Council did not vote on whether or not to have a Mardi Gras parade in 2021, but the Gautier Men’s Club parade organizer Guy Cagnolatti said the club worked closely with the city council before deciding to cancel the 2021 Mardi Gras parade.
“They were all for it. They wanted to do it if possible,” Cagnolatti said. “So we told them our plans, our protocol, to do the surveys and to work up, and to make the right choice.”
Cagnolatti said the Gautier Men’s Club did not want to hold a parade if people did not feel safe on the floats or attending in person, so the Gautier Men’s club began surveying parade participants.
“Typically we would run 35 to 40 floats plus a lot of marching units, and we were probably looking at less than 20,” Cagnolatti said.
Both the Jackson County Carnival Association and the Gautier Men’s Club are also canceling their Mardi Gras balls.