Pascagoula city leaders share their story of recovery after Katrina

Pascagoula city leaders share their story of recovery after Katrina
As oart of Katrina +10 at Ohr O'Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Pascagoula leaders shared their story. (Image Source: WLOX News)
As oart of Katrina +10 at Ohr O'Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Pascagoula leaders shared their story. (Image Source: WLOX News)

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Ohr O'Keefe Museum played host to another Katrina + 10 conversation Sunday afternoon. Today, the spotlight was on Pascagoula. A former and current mayor talked about the city's journey of recovery.

The city's motto is: Live, Work, Play in Pascagoula, but 10 years ago, as then Mayor Matthew Avara recalls, it was simply "let's get to work."

"All of the challenges that each and every city had was pretty much the same. We had about 92 to 95 percent of our city flooded," said Matthew Avara.

Avara served two terms as councilman at large before getting elected as mayor just three months before the storm hit. While he admits those four years in office were tough, he says the people were resilient and bounced back quickly.

"We have a lot of good decent people throughout our country and throughout our world that have lent so much aid and offered so much assistance to our community," said Avara.

Mayor Blevins was elected mayor in 2013, a whole 8 years post Katrina. He says the city wasn't through recovering when he took office and still has work to do, but he is proud of how far they have come.

"The home is where the heart is, and it's the hearts, the generous hearts of the people in Pascagoula and all our businesses over there that have worked so hard for a speedy recovery in Pascagoula," said Mayor Blevins.

Mayor Blevins says the city's population is still down by about 3 to 4,000 people, but he is more than happy about the business growth. He talked about some of his favorite projects on the horizon including the Round Island Lighthouse.

"Soon we will have the light shining at the top and it will bring people back into Pascagoula just as it shone in 1859," said Mayor Blevins.

Blevins and Avara agree, the best days are ahead for Pascagoula.

Mayor Blevins presented keys to the city to both former Mayor Avara and former city manager Kay Kell. He also declared August 16th, 2015 as Matthew Avara day and August 17th, 2015 as Kay Kell day in the city of Pascagoula.

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