JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Mardi Gras parades were canceled across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A special celebration was postponed last week due to the ice storm in Mississippi, but the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and its partners wanted to bring smiles to the faces of the patients at the state’s only children’s hospital.
The first ever Mardi Gras motorcade parade was held on Tuesday, February 23. The parade included the Mississippi Highway Patrol, Miss Mississippi and others. Nurses, doctors and patients who couldn’t come outside to watch waved through their windows. Necklaces were passed out to those who were coming in and out of the hospital in Jackson.
“Last week you know, we were inside a lot. We couldn’t get out or go and do and have fun. Well, that’s their everyday. So this is an opportunity for us to give them something to look at and give them something else to focus on other than what they’re dealing with and their families as well,” said Colonel Randy Ginn, director of the Mississippi Highway Patrol.
Mississippi’s First Lady Elee Reeves and Miss Mississippi Mary Margaret Hyer also joined the parade.
“Valentine’ Day of 2019 was my last visit to Batson, so it means the world to me to be back and get to serve these kids again,” said Hyer.
“I’ve ridden in a lot of parades, and you can see the joy on children’s faces when you throw the beads to them and just bringing some of that joy to kids here, cause they’re going through a lot here at the children’s hospital,” said Sean Tindell, commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.
Ginn added the parade is a tradition that he hopes to continue in the future.