PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - It was a party on the beach in Pascagoula Saturday afternoon.
Jimmy Buffett came home to play his first concert in his native town, accept the keys to the city and check out a bridge named after him.
The bridge over Bayou Baptiste that now bears his name has special meaning — it was near those waters that his grandfather, a boat captain who had sailed the world, gave him lifelong inspiration.
"I remember very vividly going back down there and he'd say, 'Well, you can see a little bayou there, you start there and you can just about go anywhere in the world you want," said Buffett. "Those were pretty inspiring words to me at the time. Little did I know I would do it. But it sure sounded like a good thing to dream about."
The event was the first gig in Pascagoula for the mega star, who has played his feel-good music all over the world.
"I've never played here," Buffett said with a laugh. "So this is the first time. I maybe once got up at the LaFont Inn sometime ..."
But, the party was waiting on the Pascagoula Beach when the singer arrived, as hundreds wanted to hear Buffett's famous acoustic guitar.
"I think he depicts the culture and the rhythms that he's able to display in his music," said Dennis Mouchette of Pascagoula. "This means so much to our area and he makes the watermen feel so proud."
Coco Collins of Ocean Springs is proud Parrothead who celebrates all things Jimmy Buffett.
"Oh, his love for life. His love for nature. The water, the sky, having fun," Collins said. "The Greek word is Kefi, having fun with other people. That's what life's about to me and I relate to him."
Buffett says his upbringing has paid dividends with how people react.
"You need those love hits every now and then. It's better than them hating you, you know," added the singer.