Garfield Ladner Memorial Pier opens - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Garfield Ladner Memorial Pier opens

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) -

By Jessica Bowman – email

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - A multi-million dollar pier in Waveland is now open to the public. The ribbon cutting and opening ceremony for the Garfield Ladner Memorial Pier was held Saturday. Mayor Tommy Longo said this is a milestone in Waveland's recovery.

As the ribbon is cut children anxiously hold their fishing poles waiting to be the first to reel in a big catch.

Mayor Longo said, "This is a tremendous milestone in the rebuilding effort in the heart and soul of the community."

The 12,000 foot pier is one of the longest on the gulf coast and is named after a former mayor who served the community for more than 30 years. His youngest daughter Shirley LaFontaine was able to be apart of the event.

Shirley LaFontaine said, "This is the third time they have rededicated the pier cause two storms took it down, and I just wish my daddy was here."

Mayor Longo said, "This pier is very befitting of Mayor Garfield and what the city meant to him and he meant to the city."

Mayor Tommy Longo said the $4.5 million dollar pier provides the only water access for the public.

"This pier is where families can come out and enjoy the natural environment with 24 hour lighted security it's safe for the families," said Mayor Tommy Longo.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, who was also on hand for the rededication, said he remembers visiting the city after Katrina and thinking, "This could never be rebuilt that mother nature had destroyed it, destroyed it all. But they didn't destroy their heart and their soul and their sense of community. And now it's being rebuilt and they are really a beacon for the state of Mississippi."

Pavilions sit on each side of the pier and a bait shop is located on the upper deck.

Jimmy Maddox said, "This is a sign of the city coming back and its just nice to be out here."

"The one thing that mother nature will never snuff out here is the culture of the coast and they have a resilience and sense of community you just cant find anywhere else," said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.

Community leaders said this pier would never have been rebuilt without the support and dedication of the community.

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