BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Biloxi Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum made its triumphant return to Point Cadet Friday night after being destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, nine years ago.
Preserving Biloxi's rich seafood industry history is what it's all about.
"This gateway to Biloxi says it all. Waterfront engagement, seafood history, culture and entertainment," Biloxi Mayor AJ Holloway said.
Some called it a grand opening, others called it a historic revival. Nearly a decade after Katrina, folks are excited to see Biloxi's seafood history museum open for business.
"This is a culmination of nine years of blood, sweat, and tears. Meetings, planning, disappointment, and exhilaration and all over again," said Donna Brown, vice-president of the museum's board of directors. "With this beautiful building that we have, and the turn out here is a win win for the Mississippi Gulf Coast."
Hurricane Katrina destroyed the old museum, and washed away priceless artifacts. Finding a place to put the museum, the money to build it, and new artifacts to fill it was a tall task, but a dedicated group made it happen.
"It's 300 years of Mississippi Coast history. It was the seafood industry and the maritime industry that built Biloxi and built the coast. We had to bring it back. We couldn't just stop and you've got years and years of people's minds and families. It was a no brainer."
The museum was funded by FEMA and Tidelands money, as well as state bonds. But continued funding is needed to keep the museum afloat.
"To keep the museum going, to keep the upkeep, to keep the educational programs, to keep our schooners going," Brown said.
The 20,000 square foot, three story building features some very interesting shrimping and seafood industry artifacts, like bells that were once used to signal seafood employees that it was time for work.
"We're just so proud to have a facility like this to recognize our heritage," Susan Pitalo Muzslay said. "It's just fabulous."
The museum will be open to the public starting this weekend. Saturday's hours are 9am to 4pm; Sunday it will be open from Noon to 4pm.