Business Owner Sees Potential of Biloxi's Vieux Marche

A new outdoor concert venue is coming to downtown Biloxi. Construction will start next month on a new outdoor park where the Golden Fisherman once stood in the Vieux Marche. A spokesman for Main Street Biloxi says plans include a stage, seating, and tables for outdoor entertainment and concerts. The project will cost about $120,000 and $50,000 will come from the city of Biloxi.

The park isn't the only new neighbor moving into the Vieux Marche. This week a new art gallery will open. The search for the perfect place to open Martha Mabey's art gallery ended in the same place it started - Biloxi's Vieux Marche.

"I thought it would take several months, but she showed me this first and it was ideal," said Mabey.

The works of nationally and internationally known artists line the gallery walls. The owner says she believes downtown has the potential to draw customers.

"The area has beautiful architecture. It's been landscaped and it's just waiting for retail businesses," said Mabey. "I'm one of the first and I hope that others come too."

Java Joe's Coffee House is a few doors down from the art gallery. Owner Sherry O'Murray says her new neighbor already has other people excitedly talking about opening businesses here.

"It's work in progress. We've all got to help each other out to try to get folks down here and keep the businesses going."

Martha Mabey says the View Marche is ready to move past the obstacles that have kept the area from thriving in the past.

"Timing is everything and sometimes the time has to be right," said Mabey." Everything has to come together and I really think with the George Ohr and with the casinos and people discovering what a wonderful vacation area this is, the timing is right."

Art lovers will be able to do more at Martha Mabey's gallery than just buy paintings and sculptures. It will also has areas for art lessons and studio space.