Son of Miss. legislator killed during New Orleans parade

Published 8:26 pm Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Funeral services will be held Wednesday for Jody Compretta, a Bay St. Louis businessman and son of a top leader in the Mississippi House, who was killed Saturday in New Orleans during a Mardi Gras parade.

Joseph P. “Jody” Compretta Jr., 39, was pronounced dead at the scene after being run over by part of a float in the Krewe of Endymion parade. The accident occurred just before the parade disbanded near the Superdome, New Orleans police said.

John Gagliano, the police department’s chief investigator, said Compretta died of internal injuries. He said no one else was injured and no charges have been filed.

Services are 2 p.m. Wednesday at Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church in Bay St. Louis. Services had been planned for Christ Episcopal Church, but that was changed because Our Lady of the Gulf can accommodate more people. Burial will follow in Garden of Memory Cemetery here.

Police said Compretta had been riding aboard the Endymion captain’s float, Captain Eddy’s S.S. Endymion, when the accident occurred about 10:45 p.m. Saturday. He was on the second part of the three-part float, authorities said.

Police said witnesses told investigators that riders had to disembark from the rear float sections when it approached the Superdome near the end of the parade route. As Compretta left the float, it lurched forward again and the third section ran over him, police said.

House Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, issued a statement expressing sorrow at the state government level, saying the Legislature is a small and close family that grieves and shares in the hardest of times.

“There can be no tougher time than this,” McCoy said. “We send our love and concern from the bottom of our hearts to the Compretta family.”

Compretta graduated from St. Stanislaus College Prep in 1986. He went on to earn a degree from the University of Mississippi and lived a number of years in Florida before returning home to Bay St. Louis.

Survivors include his wife, Maria; two children; his mother and father; two brothers and a sister.