WAVELAND -- Despite a downpour that ended minutes before the floats were set to roll, thousands of people flanked U.S. 90 in Waveland Sunday afternoon for the 47th annual Krewe of Nereids parade.
The event was scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Sunday, but storms throughout the morning and early afternoon pushed the start time back to 2:45 p.m. The rain finally slacked off just after 2, and the parade continued as planned.
"I was very pleased, the crowd was very receptive to us," said Michele Seal of Bay St. Louis, an officer with the Krewe of Nereids. "We had quite a few people thank us for continuing with the parade."
Waveland Police Chief David Allen estimated that 10,000 made their way out for the parade, though many of them came later in the
day closer to showtime.
"It slacked off for a while due to the rain, but a lot of people came back," Allen said, adding that in previous years people have come out as early as the night before to get a good spot on the route. "One of the biggest things we noticed this year was the lack of crowds early on, but then the rain cleared out."
Allen also said that on the police side of things, there were no major incidents during the afternoon, but 11 arrests were made.
"The parade starting late gave everybody more of a chance to party," he said.
A treasured tradition
Kayla Waddell, a 22-year-old student at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, has come to Waveland for the parade for the past two years. She and a group of friends braved the rain to come back this year.
"There's been better weather, obviously, but when you're with good friends, it doesn't hurt," she said. "It's become a tradition with my friends, and it's great to have such a fun Mardi Gras parade so close to home."
Steve and Emily Gaines of LaGrange, Ga., have also made a tradition out of making the trek to the Nereids parade because their niece is in it every year.
"It's a great parade," said Emily Gaines, who is originally from New Orleans and also goes to parades there. "We absolutely come to this one."
Steve Gaines said they went back and forth from their spots to avoid the rain all afternoon before the parade rolled.
"We were prepared for the weather," he said. "We wouldn't miss this."
Seal said that in the 47 years since the parade began, it's been postponed twice because of weather but never canceled.
"To never have to cancel in 47 years, that's good," she said. "There was no sunshine but it was a great day."