‘Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler’ in Gulfport

“I’ve had my gold parasol for years from Mardi Gras in New Orleans,” said Susan Koenig, right, who marched in the Fat Tuesday parade down the sidewalk of Beach Boulevard. “I just wanted to bring it out for Gulfport. It’s a colorful accoutrement to the turtleneck dress I had to find at the last minute to wear because it’s freezing.”

Let the good times roll,” in French could be heard throughout the crowd that gathered for the inaugural Mardi Gras celebration in Gulfport on Friday, February 21 held as a fundraiser for the local non-profit Enroy Foundation.

Though cold and windy, participants bundled up in colorful costumes accented with feathers, beads and masks for the Fat Tuesday parade that began at 5:45 p.m. at the Casino, 5500 Shore Boulevard, followed by the ball at the Peninsula Inn, 2937 Beach Boulevard. Live dance music was provided by the Gulfport Swamp Opera band.

The foundation is committed to supporting the visual and performing arts. For more information, visit facebook.com/EnroyFoundationInc.

The Gulfport Swamp Opera band features musicians Maureen Kilroy, foreground, and Larry Enlow, second from right, as co-founders of the Enroy Foundation, a local non-profit that is committed to supporting the visual and performing arts. In describing the evening, Enlow said, “There’s food, merriment, prizes, music, dancing and bons temps rouler everywhere!” He hopes the fundraiser becomes an annual event where Gulfport captures the spirit of Mardi Gras “for all of Florida.” The event is an expansion of a backyard party that has been held annually by Suzie King, owner of SIK Promotions, he said.

Every Mardi Gras celebration has to have a hunting hound! So, April Smith obliged by bringing Riley Rose, who was gleefully barking approval of the Fat Tuesday parade.

Juju and Dan Stevens were dressed in full Mardi Gras regalia with power chairs decorated for the occasion.

Revelers gathered at the Casino to begin the Fat Tuesday parade. Ready to do whatcha wanna? Say, “Aieee!” loudly as an expression of approval when attending a Mardi Gras-themed celebration.

The outside patio of the Peninsula Inn hosted about 75 participants who attended the inaugural Mardi Gras fundraiser. People’s traditional costumes emphasized purple for justice, gold for power and green for faith.


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