Gulf Coast Mardi Gras: Tammy Mercure Captures the Krewe of Nereids

Gulf Coast Mardi Gras: Tammy Mercure Captures the Krewe of Nereids

This Carnival season we sent New Orleans photographer Tammy Mercure out into the field to document a few Mardi Gras parades on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. With a little guidance from our Coastal friends, we're happy to present her photo series capturing the 48th Annual Krewe of Nereids roll in Bay St. Louis. 

Happy Mardi Gras, Mississippi!

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    On a beautifully clear Sunday, the 48th annual Krewe of Nereids paraderolled down Interstate 90 starting in Bay St. Louis and ending in Waveland, Mississippi. About 20,000 people lined the road ready toparty and get some beads.
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    While there is plenty of loud, the striking thing about the parade is how much people from all walks of life were able to physically touch each other.
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    The most popular group, amongst the groups like Krewe of Southern Misfits and the Krewe of Unpredictables, was the Ole Biloxi Marching Club. The men in the club, who started the hike with brightred lipstick kisses on their cheeks, handed out flowers in exchange for kisses from the crowd. Some young girls squealed with disgust andsome women shouted “me, me, me”.
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    Most floats blared songs with thumping bass. Several hundred young adults bounced on truck beds chanting, cheering, and chugging. A couple with necks heavy with strands holler, “we’re getting married tomorrow!” 

    One of the royalty with the card “Madam” on the pick up truck shouts down at me, “you seen Best Little Whore House in Texas? That’s who I am!” It is rowdy and fun and the “Wild Wild West” theme is fitting.

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In Greek mythology, Nereids are sea nymphs and often seen beside Poseidon.

The name is appropriate for the Gulf communities wherepeople have often come to help each other in times of distress like the goddesses of the sea did.

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    Several times while walking the route I saw strangers catch beads that their neighbor was hoping for and the person laid the beads around their neck like a Hawaiian lei.
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    People moved over from prime spots to let late coming families fit in together. Friends were made fast and easily.
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    In Greek mythology, Nereids are sea nymphs and often seen beside Poseidon. The name is appropriate for the Gulf communities wherepeople have often come to help each other in times of distress like the goddesses of the sea did.
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Jennifer Joy Jameson

Jennifer Joy Jameson

Jennifer Joy Jameson is a public folklorist and cultural organizer with an interest in documenting the ways culture shapes creativity, especially in rural spaces. She directed the Folk and Traditional Arts program at the Mississippi Arts Commission from 2014 to early 2017 and now works with the Alliance for California Traditional Arts in Los Angeles. From 2015-2017, Jameson partnered with local people in McComb, MS for the John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s current exhibition of Loy Bowlin’s Beautiful Holy Jewel Home called ‘The Making of a Dream: Loy Bowlin + Jennifer Joy Jameson’ (2017-2019). More about the work and writing of Jameson at www. jenniferjoyjameson.net