Biloxi Lighthouse Pier reopens to the public

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - There are about half a dozen piers in Biloxi, but only one with the signature lighthouse and beautiful welcome center towering over it.

The Biloxi Lighthouse pier has been closed for more than year, due to damages caused in Hurricane Isaac. But after a nearly $90,000 grant from FEMA, it's back.

Despite the inclement weather, fishermen and beach goers were taking advantage of the lighthouse pier Thursday afternoon.

"We're still hunting that elusive red fish out here," said longtime fisherman Russell James.

James didn't have much luck on the water, but said he was just happy to be back at his favorite fishing spot.

"I think it's fantastic, as a matter of fact, I've been waiting for it to open since they started construction," said James. "They did a fantastic job on it."

Nearby folks, casting their rods, couldn't have agreed more.

"Just happy the pier's back, just happy the pier's back," said fisherman Anthony Cherry.

"It's finally happened, huh?" said a nearby fisherman. "I'm so proud, it finally happened."

"On time and on budget, $89,000," said Biloxi Public Affairs Manager Vincent Creel. "We're very thankful to our friends with FEMA who paid for that."

Creel said the 865 foot pier has a lot of history.

"This pier was damaged heavily by Hurricane Katrina and it was closed for about four or five years after Katrina," said Creel. "It seems like just when we got it fixed from Katrina, then here comes Isaac and knocks it out of commission for just about a year."

He said the pier was rebuilt just like it was before Hurricane Isaac, but after the next big storm they're going to have to reevaluate and maybe redo the structure.

"We're probably going to have to look at going concrete with this pier"

In the shadow of the lighthouse, it's a signature landmark and it's one fishermen and beach goers say they will not take for granted.

"I love to fish, you know?" said Cherry. "There can't be nothing greater than this, you know?"

"Grab a fishing pole come down here, bring your kids and have a good time," said James.

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