BILOXI MARDI GRAS
1880-Biloxi was nearly deserted on Mardi Gras day. The Camelia carried nearly seventy-five passengers to NOLA.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, February 20, 1880, p. 3)
1883-According to Mayor Ed Glennan, a Mardi Gras celebration was held in Biloxi in 1883.
1888-In February, Harry T. Howard (1856-1933) and Lydia Fairchild ruled Carnival at NOLA.(The Times Picayune, February 20, 1966, p. 117)
1895-In February, Frank T. Howard (1855-1911) and Genevieve Cottraux ruled Carnival at NOLA.(The Times Picayune, February 20, 1966, p. 117)
What is considered to be the first Mardi Gras celebration at Biloxi occurred on March 3, 1908.
John Carraway(1873-1931), King Bienville I, and Blanche Picard (1887-1930+), his Queen, was the daughter of Bernard Picard (1853-1896) and Sarah Levy Picard (1859-1927). Bernard Picard was born in Alsace, France. Mr. Picard came to Biloxi circa 1889, and was the proprietor of Picard's Emporium, a dry goods store, located in the Eistetter Building on Howard Avenue at Magnolia Street. He expired on May 23, 1896, of stomach cancer at his 128 Main Street residence. His corporal remains were interred at New Orleans.(The Biloxi Herald, May 23, 1896, p. 8).
Blanche Picard (1887-1930+), a native of New Orleans, graduated from Biloxi High School in May 1904 and Elizabeth College, Charlotte, North Carolina before she married Solomon Edward ‘Sollie’ Levy (1882-pre-1930). Sollie E. Levy was born at Newborn, Alabama. At Biloxi on August 27, 1908 in the Presbyterian Church, Rabbi Mose Bergman of New Orleans performed their nuptials. Phil Riser of Demopolis, Alabama and Florence Picard, sister of the bride, were Best Man and Maid of Honor respectively in their wedding. Sollie E. Levy was a successful traveling salesman. The couples was home was in or near St. Louis, Missouri.(The Biloxi Herald, August 14, 1908, p. 1 and August 27, 1908, p. 1 and Harrison Co., Mississippi MRB 21, p. 38)
John Carraway-King Bienville I
John Carraway (1873-1931) came to Biloxi in 1893. He was born at Jackson, Mississippi the son of John C. Carraway (1843-1901) and Arcola Carraway (1848-1933), both natives of the Magnolia State. In 1900, he and Mae Litel Carroway (1878-1930+), his spouse, a native of Albany, Wisconsin were domiciled on Front Street at Biloxi, where he made his livelihood as cashier for the Bank of Biloxi. Mr. Carraway matriculated to the University of Mississippi. At Biloxi, he was active in the Elk, Odd fellow, Woodman of the World, and Masonic Lodge. First president of the BYC. His parents and Tennie Carraway Moreland (1880-1905+), his Texan born cousin, were also domiciled on Front Street at this time.(The Daily Herald, p. 51 and 1900 Harrison County, Mississippi Federal Census T623 808, p. 1A, ED 31, and The Biloxi Daily Herald, July 29, 1907, p. 2)
John Carroway was a candidate for Beat One Board of Supervisors of Harrison County in 1907.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, July 29, 1907, p. 2)
King Bienville with Blanche Picard (1887-1930+), as queen, of Biloxi’s initial Mardi Gras in March 1908.
Jules D’Aquin (1877-1936) and Ellen J. Joullian [m. Byron P. Lyons]. Their court: King Aurguis I; W.S. McIntyre; W.J. Thomas; W.H. Hunt; P.H. Prieur; John F. Eistetter; and Charles M. Lanius.
Thomas K. Devitt and Irma Dukate [m. Daniel J. Gorenflo]
Elbert L. Dukate (1881-1943) and Noreta Lopez [m. Rucks Yerger Jr.]
Ulysse S. Desporte (1861-1927) and Katherine Louise Henley [m. Edward McColl]
R.P. Linfield and Mamie Lewis [m. John Francis]
Mardi Gras 1917 was celebrated on February 20th and ruled over by George C. Quint (1886-1967) and Mary Chinn (1891-1958), who later married John F. Eistetter. The theme of the six-float night parade was ‘Centennial Spirit’ to commemorate the Mississippi statehood centennial (1817-1917). N. Salvadore Navarro (1869-1953) designed and built the floats. H.E. Blakeslee of the Mississippi Centennial Commission in Gulfport(The Daily Herald, January 23, 1917, p. 1 and February 21, 1917, p. 1)
In late 1917, with World War I raging in Western Europe, the 1918 Mardi Gras was cancelled at New Orleans. Mayor Glennan was enamored with celebrating Mardi Gras at Biloxi and called a meeting of the Biloxi Carnival Association in late December 1917 to ascertain if the business community desired to have a Mardi Gras day fete.(The Daily Herald, December 29, 1917)
William P. Kennedy, King Arguis VII, and Blanche Davis [m. William E. Thompson], Queen Ixolib VII, ruled the Biloxi Mardi Gras and Elk's Ball on February 11, 1918.(The Daily Herald, February 11, 1918, p. 1 and February 12, 1918, p. 3)
WW I postponed.
General John J. ‘Black Jack’ Pershing
and Evelyn E. Desporte Thompson (1904-1986) ruled the Biloxi Mardi Gras on February 8th.
Dr. Albert Brown Russ and Josephine Folkes [m. Albert Brown Russ and Thomas Burns] were King and Queen of the Biloxi Mardi Gras on February 24th.
Louis Braun and Evelyn E. Desporte [m. Hollis Calvin ‘Tommy’ Thompson]
Les Masques held their fifth annual Mardi Gras Ball at the Biloxi Elk's Club on February 11th. Miss Amelia Castanera (1905-2000) [m. General John A. O'Keefe], the daughter of Captain Frank B. Castanera (1870-1934) and Amelia Desporte (1880-1953),was the Queen.(The Daily Herald, February 12, 1927, p. 1)
John Wright Apperson and Mildred Eley (1902-1992) ruled on March 1, 1927. Mildred was the daughter of Dr. William W. Eley (1875-1944) and Florence Keahey (1874-1948). She married Frank Kennedy. Dr. Eley was a general medical practitioner and the family resided on West Beach. Her siblings were: Clifton C. Eley (1905); and Eugenia F. Eley (1910).
Mark L. Miller and Mercedes Wilkes [m. William L. Parks]
Antonio J. Catchot (1864-1954) of Ocean Springsand Pearl Lee Atkinson [m. Louis J. Gutierrez] ruled the 1929 Biloxi Mardi Gras.
Antonio J. Catchot, called Captain Tony, was born on January 29, 2864 at Ocean Springs, Mississippi to Jose' Catchot (1823-1900), a native of Minorca in the Balearic Islands off the eastern coast of Spain, and Julia A. Smith (1823-1903), an 1847 immigrant from Limerick, Ireland, and the widow of John Hays.
On October 1, 1882, Tony Catchot joined the L&N Railroad. A.J. Catchot's engineering abilities were so impressive that in October 1894, he was sent to Pensacola, Florida to assist in building the Muscogee wharf, the docks at Commandancia and Tarrangona Street, and a coaling station for U.S. Steel. In 1900, the L&N loaned him to the U.S. Navy to rebuild the docks at Warrington, Florida. He then went to the Dry Tortugas to construct wharves and a condensing plant. Catchot was also loaned to the Gulf & Ship Island Railroad to erect the piers at Gulfport in 1901.
Tony Catchot returned to the L&N Railroad in 1902, and was promoted to Superintendent of the Bridge and Building Department of the New Orleans-Mobile Division in 1907. He remained as this prestigious post until 1943. A.J. Catchot had bought the old Louis Darring property on the southeast corner of Washington and Desoto in 1897. He built a new structure here commencing in February 1897. It served as a saloon until it closed in April 1899, leaving George Arndt's Paragon Saloon the only one in town. Catchot later rented the structure to various merchants.
Through the years many honors and awards were bestowed upon Captain Catchot. He was a board member of the Farmers and Merchants State Bank in 1915, and elected president of the bank in September 1925. In May 1925, Catchot formed the Superior Oil Company of Ocean Springs with J.J. Kennedy and F.B. Royster. The purpose of this $15,000 capitalized company was to market gasoline and oil in the area.
Tony Catchot was elected president of the L&N Veterans Club for the New Orleans- Mobile Division in the late 1920s. In 1929, he reigned as King d'Iberville of the Coast Mardi Gras Association. Catchot was a charter member of the Ocean Springs Fire Company No. 1 joining in 1880, and serving as its fire chief for nearly sixty years.
Antonio John Catchot retired from the L&N on January 1, 1947, after sixty-four years of loyal and meritorious service to that organization. He died on August 11, 1954, at Handsboro, Mississippi. Catchot's remains were interred at the Evergreen Cemetery on Fort Bayou.
Walter E. White and Martha R. Guice [m. William M. Harrison]
J.W. Milner and Ella E. Edmonds [m. Irwin M. Cowie Jr.]
Hermes Gautier (1894-1969) and Virginia Theobald (1909-1995) [m. John Lockett]
Bidwell Adams and Marjorie Dukate
Leslie B. Grant and Vera Bond ruled the Les Masques Mardi Gras Ball.(The Daily Herald, February 15, 1933, p. 2 with photos)
John T. McDonald of Bay St. Louis and Evelyn Ramsay of Ocean Springs ruled the Mardi Gras at Biloxi on February 13th with the theme 'Seven Cities by the Sea'.(The Daily Herald, February 14, 1934, p. 1)
Biloxi's Negro community with King Zulu and his Hula warriors, Indians and Voodoo witch doctor, paraded through Biloxi's central business district on Mardi Gras eve. King Zulu ruled at the Mardi Gras ball held at the Suburban Gardens on Main Street after the parade had ended.(The Daily Herald, February 14, 1934, p. 5)
Fifty children, residing in the 'Possum Neck' neighborhood [Claiborne Street, Dorries Street and Pearl Street] east Biloxi, and sponsored by H.R. Richmond, held a junior carnival parade in their neighborhood. The four floats were designed by the children with Rene Alford and Kathryn Hecht as rulers of 'Possum Neck'.(The Daily Herald, February 15, 1934, p. 2)
Clark C. Griffith and Katherine Weeks.
The Billikens, a carnival club of seventy-five maids and matrons, was organized at Biloxi on January 3, 1936. The initial officers were: Myrtis B. Whetstone [Cline] captain; Eleanor G. Youska Baker, secretary; Annie Lang [Strayham], treasurer; Avis Linnelle Welch [Vignes]; Ada Moore, and Mrs. John Gryder, board members. The Billikens held their first masked dance on February 7, 1936.(The Daily Herald, January 7, 1936, p. 2)
John A. Swanzy and Thelma Josephine Gorenflo [m. Lewis Edward Curtis Jr.]
Dixie Hollis and Catherine DeMiller [1st Junior Carnival)
Homer Redford Richmond and J.B. Richmond will enter four floats in the Junior Carnival parade on Mardi Gras Day. Every year, the children in their neighborhood have held a juvenile parade. This year they will form a part of the Coast wide Mardi Gras parade on Mardi Gras Day.(The Daily Herald, February 24, 1938, p. 2)
John E. Dunnavant and Betty Grayson [2nd Junior Carnival] on February 29th.
Mardi Gras on February 6th.
Clare Joachim and Forrest M. Runnels ruled the Billikens Ball.(The Daily Herald, February 8, 1941, p. 7)
Miss Martha Burnett and Carl Winecoff ruled the Billikins Ball.(The Daily Herald, February 8, 1941, p. 7)
Miss Laurie Wilkes and Alf Dantzler ruled at the 19th Les Masques Ball.(The Daily Herald, February 15, 1941, p. 2)
Mrs. F.S. Eastland and Captain Dewey Reagan ruled the Mithras Ball.(The Daily Herald, February 15, 1941, p. 2)
Alonzo Parker, King Roxie, and Alice Wells, Queen Isabella, led eight floats with Colored riders through Biloxi's Downtown from Main and Division Streets celebrating Mardi Gras. The Black participants also rode horses, cars, and bicycles. Biloxi's White community did not parade in 1941.(The Daily Herald, February 23, 1941, p. 6, February 24, 1941, p. 3 and February 25, 1941, p. 1)
Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic colored school held a carnival parade on February 23rd. Nine floats carried children dressed in appropriate costumes representing: Uncle Sam and Miss Columbia' Kights and Ladies; Indians; and Miss Our Mother of Sorrows of 1941. The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament who teach at the school planned and worked diligently to produce the parade. An orchestra, riders on gayly colored bicycles led the celebrants.(The Daily Herald, February 24, 1941, p. 3)
WWII no celebration.
WWII no celebration. Mardi Grad on March 9th.
WWII no celebration. Mardi Gras on February 22nd.
WWII no celebration. Mardi Grad on February 13th.
James Love, King d'Iberville, and Jane Dukate Matthes [m. Joseph Edward Owen] (1920-2010). Mardi Gras held on on March 5th. King Zulu arrived aboard the 40-foot yacht, Metrus, at the Community House pier.(The Daily Herald, march 6, 1946, p.1)
Jesse Smith, King d'Iberville. Mardi Gras on February 18th.
Mardi Gras day was observed on February 10th with Queen Esther Coulson, daughter of Mrs. Mattie Coulson, and King d'Iberville Leon Hall, spouse of Mercedes Williams, ruling the festivities.(The Daily Herald, February 6, 1948, February 11, 1948, p. 1)
Howard McDonnell (1909-1992), Biloxi attorney and politician, and Mary Rose Venus Tacon (1927-1992), ruled the Biloxi Mardi Gras celebration on March 1st. Clinton Bolton (1944-1997), King Arguis, and Gayden Fritz Purcell, Queen Tevalliac, were monarchs of the Children's Mardi Gras festivities.(The Daily Herald, March 2, 1949, p. 1)
Harry Johnson Schmidt, MD (1905-1997) and Ella Mae Barq on February 21st.
1951-Korean War no celebration.
1952-Korean War no celebration.
Edward Barq Jr. (1921-1971) and Bessie Marie Corso [m. ] on February 17th.
Dr. Joseph Luka Kuljis (1909-) and Sarah Roberts Tremmel [m. Marion Daniel Pitalo] ruled the Biloxi Mardi Gras on March 2nd.(The Daily Herald, March 2, 1954, p. 1)
Roy Peter Bellande (1895-1964) and Carolyn McKellar Bolton, the daughter of Dr. Eldon Langston Bolton (1913-1990) and Carolyn Howard McKellar (1913-1996), ruled Mardi Gras on March 5th.(The Daily Herald, March , 1957)
Merle F. Palmer (1919-1990) and Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Ann Corso, daughter of Frank P. Corso and Pearl Harvey, ruled mardi Gras on March 1st. She married John Schappert Joachim Jr. on November 26, 1960.(MRB 118, p. 43)
Edward W. ‘Woody’ Blossman (1913-1990) and ruled mardi Gras on February 26th. Woody Blossman was elected president of the Gulf Coast Carnival Association for 1964.(The Daily Herald, January 3, 1964, p. 1)
Queen Ixolib Linda Dorothy Ingrassia (b. 1943) [m. John Calvin Mozingo II] of Gulfport and a senior at Ole Miss, and King d'Iberville T.M. Dorsett (b. 1915), native of Texas City, Texas and manager of construction and marina at Broadwater Beach Hotel, ruled the Mardi Gras on March 2nd.(The Daily Herald, March 2, 1965, p. 1 and March 3, 1965, p. 1)
Biloxi Mardi Gras medallions planned to be cast. Designed by .(The Daily Herald, Decmebr 12, 1965, p. 27)
Jo Ellen Kalif
James E. Alexander, MD and Jo Ellen Kalif ruled Mardi Gras on February 22nd.(The Ocean Springs news, February 24, 1966, p. 1)
Donald W. Cumbest -King d'Iberville
Queen Ixolib, Sandra Hatten [later Mrs. William Charles Hartwell Jr.], of Gulfport and Donald W. Cumbest (1925-1995), Pascagoula attorney, city judge, and 19th JD Districy Attorney, ruled the Mardi Gras in Biloxi on February 27th.(The Daily Herald, February 27, 1968, p. 1)
John R. Blossman (1943-2009)
John R. Blossman (1943-2009), King d'Iberville and Laurie James Turnbough, Queen Ixolib, ruled the Gulf Coast Carnival Association Mardi Gras at Biloxi on February 26, 1974. The theme was the 250 Anniversary of the Biloxi Bay Colony.(The Ocean Springs Record, February 28, 1974, p. 1)
Jack Thompson, son of Hollis C. ‘Tommy’ Thompson and Evelyn Desporte Thompson (1904-1986), Queen Ixolib of 1915. Mardi Grad day February 7th.
1991-Queen Ixolib Donna Michelle Haynes of Gulfport and King d'Iberville Joseph C. Wink Jr. of Diamondhead ruled the GCCA Mardi Gras on February 12th.(The Sun Herald, February 10, 1991, p. E1)
Mardi Grad on February 5th.
Mardi Gras on February 24th.
Mardi Gras on February 16th.
Mardi Gras on March 8th.
Christina Ann Carter and Mark Donlon Mavar ruled as Queen Ixolib and King d'Iberville on February 21st as The Gulf Coast Carnival Association celebrated Mardi Gras in Biloxi.(The Sun Herald, February 19, 2012, p. F1)
King Iberville-James Wetzell
Mardi Gras on February 9th.
The Biloxi Daily Herald, Business and Professional Men, (The Biloxi Daily Herald: Biloxi, Mississippi-1902).
The Biloxi Herald, “Death of Bernard Picard”, May 23, 1896.
The Daily Biloxi Herald, “”, .
The Biloxi Daily Herald, “”, .
The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Among the Candidates”, July 29, 1907.
The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Biloxi Mardi Gras now a certainty”, February 29, 1908.
The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Biloxi first Carnival a success beyond expectations”, March 4, 1908.
The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Story of the Big Parade”, March 4, 1908.
The Daily Picayune, “Mardi Gras at Biloxi”, March 4, 1908.
The Biloxi Daily Herald, “City News”, August 14, 1908.
The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Levy-Picard”, August 27, 1908.
The Daily Herald, “Chiapella gets title from King”, February 21, 1912.
The Daily Herald, “Most auspicious Mardi Gras in Biloxi’s history today”, February 16, 1915.
The Daily Herald, “ ”, February 17, 1915.
The Daily Herald, “Carnival plans start last night”, January 13, 1917.
The Daily Herald, “Blakeslee assure Carnival success”, January 23, 1917.
The Daily Herald, “Spectacular scenes mark the close of Gulf Coast’s greatest Carnival”, February 21, 1917.
The Daily Herald, “McColl-Henley”, February 11, 1918.
The Daily Herald, “King and Queen of Mardi Gras to come to Biloxi shores”, February 11, 1918.
The Daily Herald, “Elk's Ball is splendid”, February 12, 1918.
The Daily Herald, “Rapid rise of former Biloxian”, September 24, 1918.
The Daily Herald, “Thousands view spectacle of Biloxi’s Mardi Gras”, February 25, 1925.
The Daily Herald, “Fifth annual Masques Ball [Les Masques] scene of exotic brilliance”, February 12, 1927.
The Daily Herald, “Ocean Springs first to enter Mardi Gras", December 20, 1927.
The Daily Herald, “King D'Iberville nears capital city”, February 1, 1929.
The Daily Herald, “History of Biloxi Mardi Gras observance given”, February 17, 1931.
The Daily Herald, “Carraway Funeral”, August 19, 1931.
The Daily Herald, “Carraway Funeral”, August 21, 1931.
The Daily Herald, “John Carraway buried”, August 24, 1931.
The Daily Herald, “Iberville in Biloxi for annual visit, guns boom welcome”, February 9, 1932.
The Daily Herald, “King and Queens of Past Years”, February 9, 1932.
The Daily Herald, “Reign as King [Leslie B. Grant] and Queen [Vera Bond] of Les Masques at Biloxi”, February 15, 1933.
The Daily Herald, “Biloxi enjoys festivities”, February 14, 1934.
The Daily Herald, “Will announce Queen tonight”, February 13, 1934.
The Daily Herald, “Zulu celebration held in Biloxi”, February 14, 1934.
The Daily Herald, “New Carnival organization”, January 7, 1936.
The Daily Herald, "Miss [Josephine] Gorenflo Queen”, February 26, 1936.
The Daily Herald, "Four more floats in Biloxi parade”, February 24, 1938.
The Daily Herald, “Martha Burnett and Carl Winecoff rule Billikins”, February 8, 1941.
The Daily Herald, “Miss [Laurie] Wilkes and Alf Dantzler rule [Les Masques]”, February 15, 1941.
The Daily Herald, “Captain Dewey Reagan and Mrs. F.S. Eastland rule ball [Mithras]”, February 22, 1941.
The Daily Herald, “Colored Carnival Parade at Biloxi”, February 23, 1941.
The Daily Herald, “Colored Carnival Parade is planned”, February 24, 1941.
The Daily Herald, “Kiddies frolic for Mardi Gras at Biloxi”, February 25, 1941.
The Daily Herald, “King d'Iberville arrives Tuesday on Barq Yacht", February 6, 1948.
The Daily Herald, “Miss Matthes, Carl Winecoff Mithras rulers”, February 7, 1948.
The Daily Herald, “Observed Carnival at Biloxi", February 11, 1948.
The Daily Herald, “McDonnell, Miss Venus rule at Biloxi”, March 2, 1949.
The Daily Herald, “”, , .
The Daily Herald, “Elect Ed Barq Jr. president Biloxi Carnival group”, March 27, 1953.
The Daily Herald, “King d'Iberville, Queen Ixolib rule Biloxi fete”, March 2, 1954.
The Daily Herald, “Blossman head Coast Carnival organization”, January 3, 1964.
The Daily Herald, “Reveal mysteries of Coast mardi Gras”, March 1, 1965.
The Daily Herald, “1965 King d'Iberville is Dorsett”, March 2, 1965.
The Daily Herald, “Queen is Miss Linda Ingrassi”, March 2, 1965.
The Daily Herald, “T.M. Dorsett, Miss Ingrassi rule Mardi Gras”, March 2, 1965.
The Daily Herald, “Carnival is climaxed with Biloxi parade”, March 3, 1965.
The Daily Herald, “Biloxi medals for Mardi Gras are being cast”, December 12, 1965.
The Daily Herald, “1927 Queen Ixolib now resides in Long Beach”, February 3, 1966.
The Times-Picayune, “The Roll of Rex”, February 20, 1966.
The Daily Herald, “Biloxi Carnival Clubs look ahead to new themes for 1967 tableaux”, February 21, 1966.
The Daily Herald, “Dr. Alexander is d’Iberville; Miss Kalif is Ixolib”, February 22, 1966..
The Daily Herald, “Thompson family reigns again in Biloxi”, February 6, 1978.
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The Sun Herald, “Mark Mavar is King dIberville”, February 19, 2012, p. F1.
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Jules D’Aquin (1877-1936) and Ellen J. Joullian [m. Byron P. Lyons]
The Court: King Aurguis I; W.S. McIntyre; W.J. Thomas; W.H. Hunt; P.H. Prieur; John F. Eistetter; and Charles M. lanius.