Mardi Gras 2011 <br> Let the good times roll, but keep safety in mind

  • Published
  • By Virgil Mitchell
  • 81st Training Wing Safety Chief
Mardi Gras 2011 is ready to roll along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Saturday, the 1 p.m. Ocean Springs Elks Parade winds through the downtown area from the Ocean Springs Yacht Club down Porter Avenue, turning north on Washington Avenue and then east on Government Street to end at Ocean Springs High School.

The next nearby parade is the North Bay Mardi Gras Association Parade, 1:30 p.m. March 6, that rolls through the D'Iberville-St. Martin communities. The route goes down Lemoyne Boulevard to Central Avenue to Rodriguez Street to Automall Parkway and back up to Central Avenue.

The carnival season culminates in Biloxi at 1 p.m. March 8 with the 103rd Gulf Coast Carnival Association downtown parade, followed immediately by the Krewe of Neptune parade. The route starts near the railroad tracks at Martin Luther King Boulevard, moving south down Main Street, west on U.S. Highway 90 to turn north on Lameuse Street to rejoin Martin Luther King Boulevard to Reynoir Street, back to Highway 90, north on Porter Avenue and west on Howard Avenue to Caillavet Street.

This information is being provided so you can position yourself in a safe location for the festivities.

Mardi Gras is a lot of fun, but it can and often does turn tragic in just seconds. Here are some safety tips to ensure a safe, enjoyable time:

Almost every year, fatalities and serious injuries result when a parent turns and fails to supervise a child who can fall under the wheels of a float.

Never reach under a float to pick up a throw or hang on to float decorations because the float can start moving at any instant.

Park in a safe location that doesn't have parking restrictions or your vehicle could be towed away.

Be aware of your surroundings when driving or walking near parades and parade traffic.

Never run in between or chase floats for beads or throws.

Clear the path for bands and other marching groups as they go by.

Don't approach horses in the parade unless the rider indicates that it is OK.

Don't approach floats or other vehicles in the parade until they come to a stop.

Don't drink and drive. Report intoxicated drivers to proper authorities.

Watch out for beads and trinkets thrown during the parade.

Wear sunglasses during the day to protect your eyes from sun and throws.

Keep all beads, small trinkets, snapping pops and plastic bags away
from small children.

Don't place ladders in intersections or fasten ladders together for a better parade view. The distance of a ladder from a curb should be at least equal to the ladder's height.

Don't climb on or over barricades.

Don't carry anyone on your shoulders.

Never leave children unattended.

Have a meeting place in case anyone gets lost from your group.

Police officers can direct parents to lost child stations.

Enjoy, relax and have fun, but do it safely. Happy Mardi Gras!

Susan Griggs, Keesler News editor, contributed to this article.