Tourists Don't Care About Mississippi's Controversial Flag

Chet and Gloria Nelson stopped in at Biloxi's busy visitor's center to get some information. The controversial state flag was far from the minds of the Massachusetts couple as they visited coast tourist attractions.

"I didn't even know what the flag looked like when we came here," said Chet Nelson. "It wasn't important to me at all."

"I think maybe it's time to put the past in the past and look ahead to the new century. New flag, new century," said Gloria Nelson.

But Gloria said the current flag wouldn't keep her away from Mississippi.

"Certainly would not. It's just a lovely area," she said. "I like the weather today. We've had a wonderful time."

Yvette Mulcahy has been answering questions from tourists like the Nelsons for 12 years at the Biloxi Visitors Center.

"They come here because of the weather, they come here to golf, they come here for casino discounts, but none of them have yet to ask us anything about our state flag," Mulcahy said.

I, too, could not find any tourists who said they were concerned about the flag.

"I would thoroughly believe that probably 75 or 80 percent of the people don't know what your flag looks like anyway," said Cynthia Patrick, an Arkansas resident.

"I have heard some that they were gonna try to change it because it bothered a lot of people, but it doesn't bother us up there," said Ashley Frevert, a Missouri resident.

Whether or not people from out of state are staying away from Mississippi's beaches and tourist attractions just because of the state flag is very difficult to tell. In fact, we may never know. The only official opinion poll will come in the form of a referendum this April and of course, only Mississippi residents will be participating in that.