Long Beach Mayor: Barbour's legacy is beyond expectation - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Long Beach Mayor: Barbour's legacy is beyond expectation

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LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) -

Looking down the street in the heart of downtown Long Beach, it's hard to imagine the damage that Hurricane Katrina once created here.

"Everything that has come back, is way better than it was before. If you look around, we have a beautiful town green, a beautiful city hall. They've improved the streets and drainage in the area," said Bull's Restaurant owner John Bull of the city's recovery.

Long Beach Mayor Billy Skellie says the long road to recovery, was paved with the efforts of Governor Haley Barbour.

"He's just a very intelligent person, experienced and [with] so many connections in the right places to be able to be heard to get help," said Skellie. "I can't think of a better, of a more qualified, person to be in office at that time."

Skellie says Governor Barbour was key in making funding easily available for cities, but the mayor says Barbour's genuine concern was just as important in the days following Katrina.

"We've always felt like we could actually call him and personally talk to him if we needed something," said Skellie. "He would talk to you, and that was terribly important, especially in the first couple of years."

Looking out the window in Bull's restaurant, John Bull can see the progress his town has made in the form of new buildings and facilities. He says Barbour was also a driving force in helping small business build back.

"They gave us new improvements in order to build up the business, show us how to do it correctly. That way when we came back, everything was better than before," said Bull.

He agrees that the rebuilding of the coast will be Barbour's lasting legacy.

"He was the quickest and the most reasonable about getting everything back up and running in order for us to achieve what we have here today," said Bull.

Skellie sums up Barbour's legacy on the coast in just two words: beyond expectation.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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