Shelley: It’s time to play “List 20 things you learned about Biloxi.” I’ll go first. Biloxi means first people.
John: At some point in Biloxi’s history, the Spanish, French and English laid claim to the city.
Shelley: Speaking of Spanish, spanish moss is actually not moss and doesn’t come from Spain. This member of the pineapple family does not harm the oak trees.
John: Very true. The Beauvoir plantation is the post-war home of the former Confederate President Jefferson Davis. The one and only Confederate President.
Shelley: Which is located on Biloxi’s twenty-six mile beach.
John: The longest man made beach in the world.
Shelley: In 1968, eight years after 40 to 50 African- Americans attempted to swim off the “Whites only” Biloxi and Gulfport beaches, Judge J.P. Coleman ruled that the Mississippi Gulf Coast beach was public property, available for use by all citizens. Your turn.
John: Wait a second. You do realize this is a memory game?
John: So you didn’t jump on Google just before starting the game?
Shelley: Of course not. That would be cheating. I don’t cheat. Your turn.
John: And bears don’t poo in the woods. Tourism and Gaming are Biloxi’s major industries.
Shelley: Nice. That cute 1800’s pink house was actually a kit house purchased from Sears Roebuck for approximately sixteen hundred dollars.
John: Correct. According to the police, the young ladies who yelled at Miss Clara (our tour guide), “That little yellow house is the best little whore house in Mississippi.” were just a little confused about where they worked. Their house was two doors down.
Shelley: Ha! Ha! That’s right. Speaking of Miss Clara, when Miss Clara was in Grade one, she enjoyed her first kiss while sitting on the branch of an oak tree across from the beach. The romance did not last although she did marry a local boy.
John: The old down town area is in desperate need of urban renewal. The towns’ people blame the decay on the hospital, which was plunked down in the middle of the down town in the 70’s. Apparently only a few got rich from that build.
Shelley: What? Politicians on the take? I’m shocked. I’ve got a good one. While residing in Biloxi, John Grisham wrote many of his earlier novels such as, The Runaway Jury Although the book was set in Biloxi, Hollywood changed the setting to New Orleans. Biloxi is OK with that. Wink.
John: Biloxi was robbed. On August 28, 2005, Katrina, a class 5 hurricane, with waves reaching 28 feet, pummelled the Gulf Coast. Biloxi did not escape. The storm is considered to be the worst natural disaster in the history of the US.
Shelley: The good thing about the storm is it brought out the best in people. During the height of Katrina’s wrath, a resident of East Biloxi, with the help of his two neighbours pulled ten people out of the water to the safety of his house.
John: Amazing that his house is one of the few left standing in that area.
Shelley: That area was one of the hardest hit. Also the poorest. Even today, the majority of that district has not been rebuilt (although Habitat for Humanity and other organizations have constructed a few) due to exhorbitant building and insurance costs, strict mortgage requirements, as well as complicated loan and grant requirements.
John: Despite all the horror and destruction, the residents of Biloxi’s spirit remained intact.
As did their sense of humour.
Do you remember the picture we saw in the Information Centre that had the For Sale sign plunged into the rubble of what was once a house?
Shelley: Who could forget?
“Land and House for Sale. Some assembly may be required.”
John: Speaking of sense of humour, how about when Miss Clara said to you,
“Hurricane Katrina battered Biloxi for 2 days. During that time, Mayor A J Holloway never abandoned his post at City Hall.
That man has been Mayor forever. Part of that might be due to the fact that he squeaks, he’s so conservative. Unlike a certain Mayor from Toronto. Miss BC, you know who I’m talking about, don’t you? That’s right, you Canadians are having a heck of time with your Toronto Mayor, Rob Ford. Now he sure got himself into a heap of trouble. Using so much alcohol it drove him to crack cocaine. Miss BC, here’s what I want to know, what in the world was he thinking?”
That was pretty funny.
Shelley and John