Mardi Gras is a family affair for many float riders in GCCA parade

More than a hundred floats rolled through, making it the largest parade this year.
Published: Feb. 21, 2023 at 6:22 PM CST
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - The 115th Gulf Coast Carnival Association Parade happened in downtown Biloxi Tuesday. More than a hundred floats rolled through, making it the largest parade this year.

WLOX News spoke to some of the riders on the floats to put a name to the people that crowds cheer for as beads fly.

Chris Melton is on the Krewe of Picks. He and his family have been in the GCCA parade for over 20 years.

“It’s multi-generational. We got the grandkids on here,” he said. “My son has grown up on a float. Unfortunately, he’s working today, but he went from being shy and not liking the noise to having a good time.”

Jared Breal is also a longtime float rider. He has been with the Krewe of Marcellus for 10 years.

“I grew up doing Mardi Gras. I’ve walked beside the floats when I was just 10 years old, and now I’m old enough to ride,” Breal said.

For him, his favorite part is the crowd’s reaction to music.

“Watching people dance to the music we play. The DJ has got to be good. Every year, you hear the same songs, but it’s always a good time,” he said.

Monica Matthew introduced her husband Jeffrey to Mardi Gras with the Krewe of Fools seven years ago.

“Last year he got to ride, and now he’s hooked. We’re having a blast,” she said.

Jim Hardin rode on the Aladdin Construction float. For him and his family, Mardi Gras is a big deal.

“We do everything with Mardi Gras leading up to it,” he said. “The ball and all the parties. But parade day is the best. There’s so many people out. It’s part of the culture and who are in South Mississippi in this region.”

Reigning in jewels over this year’s GCCA Parade were Queen Ixolib Abigail Peyton Raworth and King D’Iberville Dr. Robert Lexington “Trey” Sutton III.

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