More than one million people in Mississippi were affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and 49 counties were declared federal disaster areas. As devastating as the hurricane was, there’s as with everything there’s a silver lining. In the years before Katrina many of the coastal communities had been stuck. They had lost their neighborhood structures, and in some cases the only attractions were the large, hulking casinos on barges in the bay that were taking over. Because nearly everything needed to be rebuilt in some places, the opportunity to do it better was presented.
Sadly, many of the historic buildings and homes of the region were lost to the storm. Many others were slated for demolition however the Mississippi Heritage Trust worked on a stabilization program to rehab the buildings instead of destroy them and ultimately won $26 million in federal funds for repairs.
One of these buildings was the Beauvoir House, the home of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy. Even more historic, but perhaps not as famous, homes have been stabilized and repaired through the program, helping to retain the cultural history of the region.
Casinos were on floating barges pre-Katrina due to state regulations however post-Katrina the laws have changed and they are now onshore. This provided a boost the economy needed in its rebuilding days. Visitors who want to stay and play are treated to high class offerings at destinations like the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino.
If you prefer to be outdoors there are numerous fishing charters offering something you can’t find everywhere. Because of its unique geographical position there is freshwater fishing, saltwater fishing, and brackish (the not freshwater-not saltwater) fishing and over 200 species can be caught! Eco-tours and boat tours of the bayous are a great way to experience the
natural beauty of the state.
Golf is also a big sport here- they even call it the “Golf Coast.” Over 20 courses are on the Gulf coast and are open year-round. While many were damaged during Katrina, they’ve bounced back and in many cases made their courses even better. With sixty—two miles of shoreline, including Beach Boulevard, the twenty-six mile stretch right off Highway 90, you won’t have any problem finding a spot to pull up your chair and umbrella.
A string of barrier islands exist off the coast. This means many of the stronger waves don’t come to shore, however if you’re looking for surf, head out to the islands to catch the waves! There is a boat cruise available to the Gulf Islands National Seashore where you can enjoy the Gulf waters.
While Hurricane Katrina devastated the area, it’s safe to say that the Gulf Coast of Mississippi is making a comeback, and it’s better than ever!