HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. -- If you feel the urge to buy Artillery Shells, Warhawk Missiles, B-29 Bombers or even an 8-Shot Hurricane at 3 a.m., you need look no further than “Crazy Carl’s” fireworks stand off Highway 90.
Despite the fact that both Bay St. Louis and Waveland have banned fireworks sales and use this year, fearing the possibility of a conflagration starting in the debris of Hurricane Katrina, "Crazy Carl's" has found a legal niche by getting a permit to set up shop on a slice of county land near the border between the two cities.
"Crazy Carl's” normally operates two or three stands in this area, but this year the company owned by Carl Hodges (aka "Crazy Carl") has set up only one red-and white-striped tent.
“It’s a little slow this year, but we’re doing all right,” says manager Mike Dean, who treks in daily from Pearl River, La.
The brightly lit tent opened Dec. 26 and will remain open 24 hours a day until late on New Year’s Eve.
Locals are stopping by to pick up single fireworks for as little as 15 cents and, for those planning more elaborate celebrations, monstrous boxes containing more than 15,000 individual fireworks for $175.
Chris Kerlee was pleased after spending $45 on an assortment of fireworks. “That’s economic shopping,” he said with a smile as he bundled the large box into his arms.
As Dean, his son, Tyler, and his fiancée, Heather, prepared to hand the reins to an employee who works the night shift, they said they feel they're filling a need despite the cities' fireworks bans.
“People really need the celebration this year, after the tragedy,” said Heather, who was among those who lost a home to Katrina. “People need something to help them forget … even if it’s just for one night.”
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