BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - In less than a week, 2011 will make its debut. It's been a year of history-making highs and gut-wrenching lows as South Mississippi bids adieu to 2010.
One of the big stories of 2010 got the year rolling on a high note.
The New Orleans Saints go marching in as underdogs against the Indianapolis Colts in Superbowl XLIV. It was the Saints first trip to the big game. A Tracy Porter interception sealed the Saints 31-17 win over the Colts. The Who Dat nation was on a euphoric high.
But, that feeling would be short lived. Less than three months later, the Gulf region was rocked by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20th. Eleven rig workers lost their lives on the rig licensed to British Petroleum.
Meanwhile, countless others lost their livelihoods in the wake of the worst environmental disaster in U.S. History. Clean-up efforts were put into place as skimmers, booms, and beach workers became the norm along the coast.
The well was finally sealed in September but not before nearly five million barrels of oil had gushed into the gulf. In the months following the spill, the claims process got underway as people sought compensation from the oil's financial impact. It's a process that's fallen under scrutiny for its delays and denials. More than eight months following the disaster, many across the Gulf region are still left dealing with its economic and emotional toll.
In late July, tragedy rears its head once again. This time, South Mississippi grieves the loss of a beloved public servant, Sheriff Garry Welford of George County,
Welford was hit and killed as he put down spikes to stop a truck fleeing from authorities.
Hundreds gathered at his funeral to honor a man who served more than 36 years in law enforcement. His widow, Debbie, stepped in as interim sheriff until November, that's when Tony Keel was elected to the post.
August brought the five year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. It was a time to look back on the long and often times arduous journey since 2005. But, South Mississippi also celebrated the many landmarks and buildings resurrected and those in the process of being rebuilt. A torch run stretching from Hancock to Jackson Counties kicked off the anniversary weekend. It symbolized the unity of South Mississippi in the aftermath of the storm.
In November, a tide of red washed over the political landscape. Riding on a wave of rhetoric, most notably, "Fire Pelosi," Republicans take back the House of Representatives and make gains in the Senate during the Mid-Term elections.
One of the most stunning upsets unfolded in South Mississippi as Gene Taylor, a 21-year democratic incumbent conceded defeat to republican candidate and now congressman Steven Palazzo.
But, political upsets weren't just limited to shades of red. In Waveland, three-term mayor Tommy Longo, was ousted in a land-slide vote in favor newly-elected mayor David Garcia, during the democratic primary.
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