Neptune Rolls to Huge Downtown Crowd, Holloway Recovering, more Biloxi News

From:  City of Biloxi  2/27/17   GCN

Mike Leonard enjoyed his first parade as Biloxi's chief administrative officer, once he donned the right equipment.

The retired Marine colonel, who was named Biloxi's CAO in September, donned a City of Biloxi hardhat for protection after being pummeled by beads from Krewe of Neptune floatriders passing the City Hall reviewing stand Saturday night.

"Everybody thought it was funny, but I thought it was safe," Leonard said today with a chuckle.

A minimum of 40,000 people were in downtown Biloxi Saturday night for the Neptune parade, which featured more than three-dozen floats and marching bands.

"The key to great parades," Leonard said, "is the planning that goes in ahead of time, by the carnival groups, the traffic plan by police, the other first responders, and the barricades placed by the Public Works Department. With good planning, all you have to do is execute. And, now, we're two-thirds of the way, with one more big parade on Tuesday."

Police Chief John Miller said he also was pleased with the way everything went Saturday night. Miller reported that police made only three arrests, including a woman whom police say was driving the wrong way down a city street while smoking a marijuana cigarette.

"You're always going to have a little problem here and there," Miller said, "but I thought things went very well. With there not being a lot of arrests that tells me people were doing well.

"After the parade the traffic cleared out very well, too," Miller added, "which is because of the route that Neptune uses, limiting congestion on U.S. 90 and not traveling west of Caillavet Street."

See photos from the City Hall reviewing stand

Holloway held one more day for observation

Former Mayor A.J. Holloway is expected to remain hospitalized until Monday for observation after suffering a weak spell during the parade and having to be carried from the City Hall reviewing stand by AMR first responders and Biloxi firefighters.

The five-and-a-half-term Biloxi mayor, who turns 78 on April 17, was standing in the front row of the reviewing stand, waving at passing floats before sitting down and becoming ill.

He was alert and responsive later Saturday night and Sunday.

Said Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich: "Serena and I enjoyed sharing time with A.J. and Macklyn before the parade, and we're certainly relieved to hear that he's bouncing back. He and Macklyn remain in our thoughts and prayers."

Coming to the parade Tuesday? Arrive early.

Best advice for paradegoers planning to attend the Gulf Coast Carnival Association parade on Tuesday: "Arrive early, absolutely," says Police Chief John Miller. "Don't think you're going to be able to drive in in 30 minutes or even an hour before the parade begins. Expect to stay late and be patient. Take your time. If you have young children, please write their name and phone number on a card and stick it in their pocket. Tell them to approach the nearest police officer if you become separated."

Mardi Gras Central: Safety tips, parade route and more

Key roads to close on Fat Tuesday

Biloxi Police will be closing streets and reducing traffic on Tuesday for the Gulf Coast Carnival Association parade, which begins at 1 p.m. What you need to know:

--- At noon, U.S. 90 will be reduced to two lanes from Bellman Street to Gill Avenue and I-110 south of Division is closed.

--- At 12:30 p.m., the parade route closes to vehicles.

--- At 1 p.m., the parade begins.

--- About 4 p.m. all lanes of U.S. 90 should be re-opened, along with I-110 south of Division Street.
See the GCCA parade route