We are standing on Biloxi Town Green. A row of casinos and a huge neon guitar block our view of the beach, but we are not looking in that direction…
In front of us is the Katrina Memorial, a granite monument to the lives lost when one of the worst natural disasters in United States history made landfall, August 29, 2005. Standing nearby, Carla, conductor of the “Shrimp Train” historic tour, continues to share a firsthand account of the storm and the aftermath. She remembers the smiling faces that used to wave from their front porches as the Shrimp Train went by. Many of those families are gone. The massive storm surge washed their homes away, leaving behind little more than cracked sidewalks and empty foundations. But Biloxi persevered.
Today, the locals are smiling again, waving and welcoming visitors with their signature coastal Mississippi charm. Somewhere on this little Gulfside peninsula, someone is grooving to Zydeco as they put fresh crawfish on to boil. And you can bet they saved a seat for you.
Built in 1852, Jefferson Davis’ final home is an antebellum compound that includes the main building, several outbuildings and a Civil War Museum. Admission is $9 for adults, $5 for children. 2244 Beach Blvd. 228.388.4400.
The “Shrimp Train” offers a whirlwind tour of Biloxi. Get an insider look at the waterfront, the historic district and casino row. Departs from Biloxi Lighthouse Park, Beach Blvd at Porter Avenue.
A visual art collection from local artists. The gallery is housed in the “Old Spanish House” at 782 Water Street. 228.436.7782.
710 Beach Boulevard. Look for this sculpture.
Exhibits include shrimping, fishing, blacksmithing, net making and Biloxi skiffs. 115 1st Street, Biloxi, MS 39530. (228) 435-6320. (Photo courtesy Maritime Museum)
Tour the Gulf Coast on a classic dual-masted schooner. These gorgeous, circa-19th century “white winged queens” recall a simpler, romantic time in maritime commerce. Call 228.435.6320 for rates and departure location.
A family-friendly adventure cruise. View shrimp, stingrays, oysterfish, pufferfish, flounder and blue crabs. Operates February through November. For departure times call 228.392.8645. Biloxi Small Craft Harbor, 679 Beach Boulevard.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
The Biloxi Visitor Center offers a cool little local history museum and a panoramic view of the waterfront. Located at 1050 Beach Blvd.
The Casino Hopper offers inexpensive transportation to casinos, attractions and businesses in east Biloxi. Click over to www.CoastTransit.com for routes and times.
GETTING TO BILOXI
Biloxi is on a peninsula created by Biloxi (Back) Bay on the north and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. Take 1-10 to I-110S. Look for the Biloxi Visitor Center at GPS: 30.394538, -88.901247.