In 2018, Mardi Gras will fall on Tuesday, February 13th. While there is a healthy debate as to when the first Mardi Gras celebration was held on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the first modern celebrations can trace their roots to the first parade held by the Gulf Coast Carnival Association in 1908. The revelry of Fat Tuesday has survived financial depressions, world wars, and ruinous hurricanes. While the throws at Mississippi Gulf Coast parades have evolved over the years with glass beads giving way to plastic beads in the early 1960s and the introduction of doubloons to gulf coast parades in 1966, the elaborate costumes worn by carnival royalty for parades and carnival balls have remained a mainstay. These costumes are often handmade and take weeks if not months to prepare. To see some of these costumes up close and to learn more about the history of Mississippi Gulf Coast Mardi Gras make a visit to the two museums that cover the subject all year long: The Bay St. Louis Mardi Gras Museum and The Biloxi Mardi Gras Museum.
The Bay St. Louis Mardi Gras Museum can be found at the City’s Visitor Center in the historic L&N Train Depot located at 1928 Depot Way. The museum displays beautiful Mardi Gras costumes alongside other Mardi Gras memorabilia. Museum hours of operation are Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Saturday 9:00am to 5:00 p.m.
The Biloxi Mardi Gras Museum is in the antebellum Magnolia Hotel located at 119 Rue Magnolia. The museum tells the story of Mardi Gras along the whole coast of Mississippi. In addition to costumes and other memorabilia, the museum displays historic photographs taken over the past 100 plus years of Mardi Gras. Museum hours of operation are Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. -4:00 p.m. Call ahead to confirm.
Both museums are free to the public and welcome donations.
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