Historic Photos Rediscovered In Bay St. Louis

Bay St. Louis residents are getting a blast from the past this week. Hundreds of once lost photographs from the 1940s through the 60s have resurfaced.

The historic photographs on display this week at the Bay St. Louis train depot took Gene Scafidi on a trip down memory lane.

"I think it's magnificent to see the past come alive in these beautiful photographs and to know that they have been preserved for so many years, undiscovered."

The pictures are the work of the late photographer Anthony Scafidi, who died in 1969. For 60 years hundreds of negatives of his work were believed to be lost forever.

"A man brought them to us in a suitcase five months ago. They had been in a shed building... for a number of years. They were stored in one of those very old Samsonite suitcases and it was like storing them in a vault. They were totally protected from moister," Hancock County Historical Society Director Charles Gray said.

Scafidi was one of just a handful of photographers in town at the time and immortalized all kinds of city scenes and events on film.

98-year-old Maggie Damborino couldn't believe her eyes.

"The whole exhibit is wonderful. I'm enjoying every bit of it."

More than 350 of Scafidi's photographs are on display at the Depot. The historical society has another 300 undeveloped photos from his collection, which will go on display later this year.

Visitors are helping to identify the places and faces in some of the pictures, creating a permanent record of the past. There are lots of graduation and wedding photos in the collection. It's good news for many long time residents who lost pictures in Hurricane Camille.

The exhibit runs through Friday at the Bay St. Louis Train Depot.

by Al Showers