BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - When The Austin family walked into the Ohr O'Keefe Museum of Art they had no idea anyone would be waiting on them. The museum's Executive Director, Kevin O'Brien, announced Mary Liz Austin as the 20,000th visitor of the Katrina +10 exhibit.
The family, who traveled all the way from Washington, D.C., was welcomed with a gift bag that included a Katrina +10 DVD, and a book about the artist George Ohr.
"Most of the people that come to see the exhibits are out of town visitors. Almost all of the people that come to the community programs during the week, they're almost all people that live here on the Gulf Coast," said O'Brien.
Katrina +10 organizer, Vincent Creel, says although 20,000 is a milestone, they are still hoping for thousands more to come through the doors before the exhibit closes.
"Our goal is 50,000. We're still hoping we're going to hit 50,000, and we think the numbers are just going to grow exponentially as the anniversary gets closer," said Creel.
The Austin's were visiting their daughter who lives in New Orleans when they decided to check out the museum. They wanted to learn more about how the storm affected other places.
"I'm realizing just how important local coverage is. Being from the other side of the country, we listened to national news and the emphasis was primarily on New Orleans, and even though I think we got little tidbits about Mississippi and Alabama we didn't really get the full picture," said Mary Liz Austin.
Austin's daughter, Aubrey Rose, says she hears stories from those who live in New Orleans daily, but it's fascinating to see and hear Mississippians stories as well.
"I was reading and watching the exhibit about the journalists and their decision to stay, and how all the things they had to go through just to be able to report the story and that's really interesting to me about having the specific skill and really needing to be here to offer it to the community," said Rose.
The Katrina +10 Exhibit will be up until September 7th. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm and on Sunday from 1 to 4 pm.