HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - One of the biggest tourism events in South Mississippi will be revving up in about a week, and pieces of debris from Hurricane Isaac still litter parts of the beach in Harrison County. Sand beach and road department crews have been working feverishly to remove the mess before Cruisin' the Coast kicks off October 7.
Mounds of marsh grass, broken boards, and other trash have become familiar sights along the beach in Harrison County.
"I would love to see a lot of the debris gone. I guess it's the seaweed and things that have washed up," said Sue Payne.
That was Payne's first impression of the beach as she rode her bike along Highway 90 Friday. She is from Tennessee and was in Long Beach to attend a friend's wedding this weekend.
"I can see how this could be a gorgeous beach and it is beautiful, but I was surprised at all the debris," said Payne.
Much of that debris, dumped on the beach by Hurricane Isaac, is slowing disappearing. Three sand beach crews and five teams from the county road department have removed more than 15,000 cubic yards of debris so far.
"We've done everything from the Long Beach Harbor all the way to Oak St. in Biloxi. All that is open to the public and the water is safe with DEQ," said Harrison County Sand Beach Director Chuck Loftis.
Crews are now trying to rid areas in Long Beach and Pass Christian of Isaac's mess.
When asked if his men can finish the job by Cruisin' the Coast, Loftis replied, "We'll be pretty close. We've been at this now for three weeks time and we've done exceptionally good I think for the time we've had. In three weeks time, we're probably a little over 60 to 70 percent completed. So we're on schedule."
Loftis said he understands the importance of making a good impressions when the Cruisers roll into south Mississippi.
"We want to have our best foot forward when the visitors come. So the areas where most of the Cruisin' takes place in Long Beach, Gulfport, Biloxi, all that area is done," said Loftis.
Loftis is asking people to avoid areas that are still closed, because there are still hazards out there. He said FEMA will reimburse the county for overtime hours during the cleanup process. And engineers are trying to determine how much sand was lost during Isaac.