Biloxi Visitors center hopes to renew memorabilia loan - - The News for South Mississippi

Biloxi Visitors center hopes to renew memorabilia loan

Inside the Biloxi Visitors Center, there are many things symbolizing Mississippi's heritage. In the hallway, you'll find three very special pieces of Mississippi's musical history.

They are pieces that were loaned to the center by the Hard Rock Casino.

The renewal of that loan will be reviewed this week at the council meeting.

"Elvis Presley, skinny Elvis days," said Biloxi Historical Administrator Bill Raymond as he explained the significance of the memorabilia adorning the hall.

Raymond said Elvis Presley's suede jacket, Bo Diddley's guitar and Conway Twitty's bejeweled jacket are prized items, loaned to the Visitors Center last year.

"We're upping the loan going for another year and the visitors love it. We have about 50,000 people come here every year and that's one of the first things they see when they come in our door," said Raymond.

Showing three musicians with roots in Mississippi, Raymond said the center does not have to pay to display these pieces, but their presence is priceless.

"On those 3 pieces of memorabilia is about $15,000 that the Hard Rock is loaning us." said Raymond.

The Solomons just moved to the coast and seemed captivated by these pieces and the stories behind them.

"It's something else you know you don't see very many people wearing stuff like that anymore," said Hayden Solomon.

But, you don't have to be a visitor to the center to appreciate the story.

"It's the cornerstone of the South," said Boyd Grafmeyer.

Grafmeyer works the at the gift shop.

His desk is positioned in just a way that he can sit and admire the wonder of the musicians.

"It's the heart and soul of the South," said Grafmeyer.

So, which of the three stand above the rest?

"Probably the guitar," said Solomon.

"Of course the skinny Elvis jacket," said Raymond.

"Oh definitely Bo Diddley's guitar, that's undeniable. You see that you know who that is. There's only one guitar like that and only one guitar player like that," said Grafmeyer.

So while they disagreed on their favorite piece, they agreed that these pieces represent the best of Mississippi's musical heritage.

"That's where it all began," said Grafmeyer.

The Biloxi city council will discuss the memorabilia lease at its meeting Tuesday.

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