BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It was built for fishermen, but is also attracting exercise walkers, bird watchers and photographers. The City of Biloxi officially opened and dedicated the new fishing bridge at Point Cadet on Tuesday morning.
And people are already taking advantage of the recreation opportunities it offers. Three-year-old Isaiah felt something on his line.
"He loves to fish. He's a little fisherman," said his mom, Robin Franklin.
Her little fishermen and his family are among the first to enjoy this long-awaited project.
"I like it. It's nice. This is my first time coming out, but it's nice. It's got a lot of space," said Franklin.
As fishermen enjoyed this new space, Mayor A.J. Holloway led the official opening and dedication.
"Help us honor your creation. Help us to really honor the fish we will catch, that we will enjoy," said Father Greg Barras of St. Michael's Catholic Church in Biloxi, as he prayed over and blessed the fishing pier.
There was also a surprise during the ribbon cutting. Mayor Holloway said he would recommend the city name this bridge in honor of 91-year-old Corky Hire, a man who grew up on "The Point" and fishes this bridge every chance he gets.
The announcement caught Nicolas "Corky" Hire a little off guard. There's perhaps no one with a closer connection to this fishing spot.
"I remember the first time I come on this bridge," Hire recalled, "It was U.S. 90. They opened it up. First day, my momma grabbed me by the hand and we walked to the drawbridge and walked back."
A vintage tee shirt from 1978 that said "Wilson's Fishing Camp" showed Dick Wilson's fishing bridge connection. For years, he operated a fishing camp where the Palace Parking garage now sits.
"Memories? Hey, the good part is the people I met. Because they're lifetime friends now. Love 'em," said a smiling Wilson.
"You catch redfish, speckled trout. Your basic saltwater fish," Lenny Jackson explained, as he watched his fishing line closely.
Jackson and his fishing partner will be frequent visitors. He says with so many piers still not repaired after Isaac, this Point Cadet project is welcome indeed.
"I'm very glad to see this. It gives me something to do now," said the Biloxi fisherman.
The fishing bridge has two lanes of traffic, with lighting and wide sidewalks. You can cast a line there, 24 hours a day. The fishing bridge is located at the eastern end of Howard Avenue, next to the Palace Casino.
To see more pictures from Tuesday's opening ceremony, visit: http://biloxi.ms.us/gallery/04302013/index.html