It's time to laissez les bon temps rouler -- Monday, Jan. 6, marked Twelfth Night, which signaled the beginning of the 2020 Carnival season, and there is a plethora of Mardi Gras activities planned in Hancock County.
"The first Mardi Gras celebration in Bay St. Louis occurred in 1896," according to Waveland author Russell Guerin's "Louisiana's Loss, Mississippi's Gain."
"Walter Gex reigned as the first king. At age sixteen, Julia Olivari, who later became Mrs. Reginald Blaize, reigned as the first queen. The next year, Robert Perre was king.
"Bay St. Louis had its own distinctive form of observing the Mardi Gras in 1904. The morning of Tuesday, Feb. 17, was spent in individual masking. At 2:30 p.m., the royal yacht Mizpah was sighted near Pass Marianne, and shortly afterward," according to the Feb. 20, 1904 edition of the Sea Coast Echo, "amid the booming of cannon and the strains of martial music, their gracious majesties landed at pier 990.
"The keys to the city were presented to Rex by Charles A. butler, Duke of Photography, who complimented his hinges in choosing Bay St. Louis as the capital of his kingdom, favoring it over the other towns along the coast. St. Stanislaus students sat down to their annual Mardi Gras spread at six o'clock and did annual justice to it."
The Mystic Krewe of the Seahorse will kick 2020's celebration off with its "Mutiny on the Bay Pirate Party" on Saturday, Jan. 18, from 6:30-11 p.m. at the Longfellow Civic Center, 122 1/2 Court St. in Bay St. Louis. Doors open at 6:20 p.m., with the presentation at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. For more, go to mkotsh.com or call 228-216-6416.
Other scheduled Carnival events include:
• Saturday, Jan. 25
7 p.m., Bay St.Louis Community Hall - Annual Krewe of Casa Mardi Gras Gala
• Saturday, Feb. 1
9 p.m., Mississippi Coast Coliseum - Annual Krewe of Nereids Mardi Gras Ball
• Saturday, Feb. 15
11 a.m., the Krewe of Kids parade, on Dunbar Avenue in Bay St. Louis, beginning across from Dunbar Village.
• Sunday, Feb. 16
12 noon, Waveland - Annual Krewe of Nereids Mardi Gras Parade
• Saturday, Feb. 22
1 pm., Diamondhead - Annual Krewe Of Diamondhead Mardi Gras Parade
• Sunday, Feb. 23
1 p.m., Pass Christian - Annual St. Paul Mardi Gras Parade
• Monday, Feb. 24
5 p.m., Bay St. Louis - Annual Mystic Krewe of the Seahorse "Lundi Gras" Parade
• Tuesday, Feb. 25 - Mardi Gras Day
1 p.m., Bay St. Louis - Krewe of Diamonds Mardi Gras Parade
If you'd like to add a Mardi Gras event to the listing, please email Geoff Belcher at email@example.com.