Her name is synonymous with fine seafood and Southern hospitality. Now, a downtown park is also named for Mary Mahoney.
The woman who founded the most recognized restaurant in Biloxi was fondly remembered by friends and family Monday morning.
Mary Mahoney Park is in the heart of an ongoing project to beautify downtown Biloxi.
Bright sunshine welcomed dozens of friends and family who gathered in front of the old Magnolia Hotel. Someone suggested Mary Mahoney probably ordered the beautiful weather. After all, she defined hospitality.
Former Biloxi mayor, Jerry O'Keefe, recalled how Mary Mahoney was always promoting Biloxi.
"Mary did a beautiful job. She indeed was an ambassador of goodwill for the City of Biloxi," he said.
Mary Mahoney Park is among a series improvements in the heart of downtown. Leaders of Main Street Biloxi say the beautification projects should attract more tourists and locals.
"We've kind of chosen this path down Rue Magnolia to kind of focus on and beautify. As we did with Margaret Trammel Peresich Park and as we are doing with Mary Mahoney Park. To try and beautify the area and there's a few other projects along the way that we're working on," said Main Street director, Kay Miller.
Finding ways of boosting downtown business is something Mary Mahoney would certainly have supported. After all, as her son reminded the crowd, she was a faithful shopper on Howard Avenue.
"She wouldn't give up. If she couldn't get it at, before she went to the mall, she went to Lawrence's or she had to go to Austin's and then I had to go to Bradley's Toggery before we ever thought of making her way to the mall," recalled Bobby Mahoney.
Mary Mahoney's Old French House has long been nationally known for its fine food and Southern hospitality. Now, after enjoying a meal at the restaurant, visitors can simply stroll down the walkway and relax in the park which bears her name.
The purpose of the downtown park fits perfectly with what Mary Mahoney was all about.
"Make it a real positive impression of Mississippi and the Gulf Coast," said her son.
Like her son Bobby, Mary Mahoney must certainly be smiling on her many friends, and the new downtown park that bears her name.
Mary Mahoney died in 1985. Her Biloxi restaurant remains both a coast favorite and a popular attraction for visitors.