Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Come along with me on a stroll around Biloxi

Okay it's time for another walk...this time in the Gulf coast city of Biloxi, Mississippi.  So follow along with me as I set off to explore this touristy town - without setting foot in one of its famous casinos. 

First let's have some breakfast at McElroys because how often do I get to have fresh shrimp in my omelette....

and see a view like this......broody....

With a full tummy I then decided to do a bit of beach walking..but first I followed the unique walking path that goes under the I-10 freeway ramp and over the water. 

With perfect views out to the ocean like this:

Then time to walk on the beach...sadly too cold for bare feet...why do I always (okay, both times!) seem to visit this place in January...the sand is a powdery white and just meant for scrunching toes into..


And a walk on the pier...

Time to sit down and have a rest and watch the screeching Sea gulls and graceful Black Skimmers.  Biloxi's lighthouse standing strong since 1848 - it has survived the civil war and more than 20 hurricanes including the devastating Katrina. 

Across the road is the new Visitors Centre - the previous centre was lost during Katrina and they had to use a historic home a few blocks off the main highway.    It is a state of the art facility with multimedia displays as well as films and a fantastic gift shop. (I can't believe I left without buying anything...the reason?  I couldn't make up my mind what to get!)

Yes, Biloxi celebrates Mardi Gras as well and even has a Mardi Gras museum

Yes, even a Mardi Gras tree
You can't visit Biloxi today without witnessing the ravages of Katrina's unwelcome visit on August 29th, 2005.  28 foot wave surges devastated the city causing a loss of 6,000 homes and businesses and even more tragic the loss of well over 200 lives along this coast line - several whose bodies have never been recovered.   A film shown in the Visitor Centre tells the story of that terrible day and features interviews with some of those affected - I think we all left that theatre with a tear or two in our eye. 

A local artist has created sculptures from the beautiful oaks that were destroyed during Katrina...so I wandered down the median of the highway photographing these touching reminders that something beautiful can come out of something so tragic.

Well I don't know about you but I'm getting tired - let's head over to the quaint downtown and have a bit of lunch.  I loved this sweet café called Le Café Beignet


And guess what I had?  I wanted peach cobbler but they had only started making it so darn..had to settle for these! 

We end our walk at the Katrina memorial.  This was completed by the Extreme Makeover team together with an architect and Gulf Coast residents.  A touching memorial to those lost in the worst hurricane to hit the Gulf Coast. 

Beside the memorial is what is called a "shoofly".   Decks were built around the trucks of large oak trees, were constructed to give residents the best opportunity to enjoy breezes off the water under in the shade on a hot, humid and sultry summer day.  Its name came from the servants call to “Shoo! Fly! to remove any sand flies before the owners and their guests came out to enjoy the outdoors.

I hope you enjoyed exploring Biloxi with me.  The citizens of Biloxi are working hard to rebuild their city - like that steadfast old lighthouse, the symbol of their city they will not be defeated.  If you are in the area please visit and help these proud people rebuild their beautiful city. 


Sammi Egan said...

It looks so beautiful. It's really sad that the devastation of Katrina is still there for everyone to see. I think I'd really like to visit this place.

Jess @ Ice Cream and Permafrost said...

I love Biloxi! It's like Mississippi's New Orleans. :D I was there for a few weeks helping rebuild after a hurricane a while ago, and I'd love to go back - especially now that I know about those crane statues. They're beautiful.

Laurie said...

Yes ladies...Biloxi is well worth a visit. Plus it's only a couple of hours from New Orleans. I wasn't into the casino scene (except for the buffets!) but I love the ocean so for me it was perfect. A lot of history there as well although sadly much of it washed away with Katrina....Ocean Springs is over the Bay Bridge and has some great shopping. Sadly due to the weather I never made it over there this time.

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