Business Breathes New Life Into Section Of Bay St. Louis Beachfront

What was once a dead commercial area of the Beach Front in Bay St. Louis is now thriving with community activity.

The area on South Beach Boulevard, near the Washington Street Pier used to attract vagrants, drug activity and many other headaches for police. But a two year old non-profit business in the area has been the catalyst to turn things around.

"Da Beach House is a little bit of everything. It promotes cultural programing, poetry reading... environmental issues, water safety, water education. Da Beach House is all about nature and living a positive healthy lifestyle," owner Colleen Read said.

The programs offered here are drawing hundreds of residents back to an area of town many people once felt unsafe visiting.

"When we arrived, it was dead. This area was used for undesirable activities. People used to hang out drink and partake of things that were not necessary healthy for the community," Read said.

A community garden helped beautify the area and local artists stepped in to create a colorful mural on what used to be an unattractive wall.

"It was a nasty white wall with graffiti and the police told me they use to have to come down here all the time and repaint to clean it up," Read said.

Now similar health related businesses are starting to surface in the area.

"The one we're really excited about is the Center For Creation. It will be a healing art center," Read said.

Cie McMullin is the operating manager for the healing art center.

"We will have Yoga classes and many others. When we get the other part of the building opened, it will have a healing room. Also there will be an office there for the Nature Conservancy and an office for earth events," McMullin said.

The three new non-profit businesses are expected to open in June.

Da Beach House will attract hundreds of more residents to the area this weekend when it hosts a beach clean-up and volleyball tournament on Saturday, and the State Kayak Games Sunday.

by Al Showers