$3M Slavonian Lodge now open on Biloxi's Point - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

$3M Slavonian Lodge now open on Biloxi's Point


By Doug Walker – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - In an area of Biloxi still trying to recover from Hurricane Katrina, the new $3 million Slavonian Lodge shines like a beacon of hope through the rubble.  It's a beautiful building sitting in the midst of ruin. 

As you walk up the steps, you're greeted by the Croatian coat of arms.  Inside, the view is stunning.  Lodge members feel it's a step in the right direction, including Lodge President FoFo Gilich.  

"At least something is happening down here that's not a casino," Gilich said. "And I think it was a good first step for the community and things will happen."  

Every morning lodge members come in for good conversation, and breakfast prepared in a state of the art kitchen. They are surrounded by the history of the lodge, from a 1930s baseball team, to a tribute to the Croatians' involvement in the coast's seafood industry.  

When Hurricane Katrina washed away the Slavonian Lodge on Myrtle Street back in 2005, the members were determined to rebuild on the Point. Gilich said they wanted to send a signal that it can be done. 

"When we throw $3 million in a building down here, that says something for the potential of this area." 

The lodge has also provided a healing power to people left sick by the devastation from Katrina, according to Operations Manager Mike Kovacevich,  

"As soon as the storm hit, we found that people lost everything and more people came back to the lodge because of their heritage, they didn't want to lose everything," Kovacevich said.

He said the lodge is built for the future, with a goal of attracting new and younger members.  

"We have a lot of new members that are young. We hope, in the future, to put in a game room to bring the younger kids in." 

One thing that won't change is the sense of family the lodge offers its members, both young and old. 

At 18,000 square feet, the new lodge is almost twice as big as the old one.  In addition to serving its members, the lodge will play host to dances, wedding receptions, and other community events.

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