Soul Of America






Life at the beach on Mississippi Gulf Coast



   Referred to as the "Playground of the South," the Mississippi Gulf Coast runs along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. Sandwiched one hour from both New Orleans to its west, and Mobile, Alabama to the east, the area embraces the cities of Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian, Long Beach, Gulfport, Biloxi, Ocean Springs, Gautier, and Pascagoula. In addition to the abundance of historical and cultural attractions, many people, particularly those within a 6 to 8-hour driving distance, recognize the Gulf Coast for its gaming industry. Legalized in 1992, Casinos have been an economic and nightlife boon to the region.

   Biloxi is home to most of the Mississippi Gulf Coast's historical spots, the bustling gaming industry with its many casinos, nightlife, and restaurants, most specializing in excellent gulf fish and seafood.

    Major industries here were the boatyards, timber, and fishing. Because it was known as the Seafood Capital, Biloxi had more than 40 seafood factories with an abundance of oysters, crab, shrimp, fish, and crawfish. Today, the area is chocked full of seafood joints, and there is a local saying, "If you're looking for seafood and you go hungry in Biloxi, its your own fault!"

    Just west of Biloxi, Gulfport is the second largest city in Mississippi after Jackson and centers around business and residences. African American neighborhoods here encompass North Gulfport, the Quarters, Sherwood, Gadston Point, Soria and Mississippi City, Magnolia Grove, and Rolling Meadows, and the historic Black resort, Gulfside Assembly.

    Bay St. Louis is called "A Place Apart" in reference to its relatively comfortable race relations over the years. Now an intimate and charming town of about 10,000, Bay St. Louis has an enchanting downtown area, beautiful beaches, a historic depot district built in the late 1800s to early 1900's, two historic cemeteries, and is home to more than 100 resident artists and several notable places worth visiting.

   Gulfport and Bay St. Louis have growing number of Black-owned businesses and retail outlets. Mississippi Gulf Coast is finding the radar screen increasingly more travelers for its casino resorts with entertainment, historical and cultural sites, shopping, and 26 miles of sugar-white sand beaches. Even the several hundred year old Friendship Oak lets you know makes you feel welcome.

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