Galveston plans for a party

February 4, 2009 3:30:23 PM PST
Mardi Gras is one of the biggest parties of the year for Galveston Island, but after the island was seriously damaged by Hurricane Ike, and with the sinking economy, there were some very real concerns that the party might have to be cancelled. Business owners on the island say cancellation was not an option. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The float for the Krewe of Thalasar is a lot like Cinderella's dress. Most of it is borrowed from elsewhere.

"There's plywood. There's a lot of lumber that's been borrowed. There's paint and glitter, and other such things, and Christmas lights that's been borrowed from people's houses," explained krewe member Felicity Dodson.

Like everywhere else on Galveston, the float was flooded and damaged. Repairing the structure was a significant effort, considering members of the krewe had to deal with their own devastation.

"It was very hard to do it," Dodson said. "I have a young child. ... We had to find child care. We had to find a place to work. We had to bring generators out here to work on it."

Galveston's Strand district isn't completely open but is welcoming Mardi Gras crowds out of necessity.

Leslie Sommer with the Historic Downtown Strand District said, "We really do need this Mardi Gras and the business and the money that will flow into our city because of it. We really hope everyone will take a chance to come down to the island."

Surf Styles is one of less than half of the Strand businesses that are open. It's an encouraging sign of recovery for some shoppers. For many locals, Mardi Gras is less about economic recovery, and more of an emotional release.

"This island deserves party right now," said Shelly Fordyce of the Krewe of Thalasar.

Mardi Gras events are held from February 13 to 24.

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