Biloxi, Mississippi

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The growth of Biloxi and Gulfport as a thriving casino and tourism mecca was dealt a blow by the flooding and devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Massive amounts of debris from the largest natural disaster in U.S. history have been removed, and more than US$1 billion has been invested to rebuild casinos alone. Seven of the city’s original nine casinos reopened by the fall of 2006. Although most of the city’s waterfront antebellum homes and other historic buildings did not survive Katrina, the natural beauty of the Coast remains, and efforts are ongoing to restore the remaining buildings. Although one of the aftereffects of the storm was a substantial drop in the city’s population, the event also offered a rare chance for a new beginning—Biloxi is working to redevelop in ways that promote pedestrian-friendly, walkable, mixed-use developments in the tradition of New Urbanism.

As different as

Biloxi and Gulfport are, it is impossible to separate them. Together they create a virtual playground for enjoying the beaches, exploring the fragile barrier islands that make up the Gulf Islands National Seashore, golfing on one of the many courses, fishing for mackerel or red snapper off the coast and dining at one of the many restaurants. In Biloxi, you can take a sailing trip on the replica historic Biloxi schooners or see the fascinating variety of marine life that lies below the water’s surface by enjoying the Biloxi Shrimping Trip. For the evening, you can catch a show at one of the casino-resorts, or choose from a large variety of dining options.

Tourism and gambling will be essential to helping Biloxi and Gulfport rebuild, but visitors should be aware that the area is still devastated and recovery efforts are taking some time. The casinos are sparkling and new, but they are often situated next to piles of debris and widespread devastation. In some spots—all clearly marked—access to the beach is closed off, but many public beaches are open. Slowly but surely, the cleanup process is giving way to a construction boom, with high-rises being built up and down the coast.

For additional information call 301-292-3052 or email:Lifestylestraveltrips@gmail.com

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