PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - It was a celebration of music and heritage in Jackson County on Friday. Community leaders, musicians, and fans of the blues, gathered for the unveiling of the newest marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail. It was a laid back celebration in Pascagoula. Live music warmed up the crowd, which gathered to watch the unveiling of the 191st marker on the Mississippi blues trail.
Who knew the mayor of Pascagoula was a hard core blues fan?
"My blues years started with people like Muddy Waters, Bobby Bluebland, Sonny Boy Williamson. One of my favorites," Mayor Jim Blevins told the crowd.
This newest marker at the fairgrounds honors the 25 year history of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues and Heritage Festival.
"Blues has been a method of entertainment for many of our workers who were doing work on the outside. It was the evening. It went from blues to spiritual to gospel and things of that sort. But still, a very important part of our culture," said Jackson County Supervisor Melton Harris.
Those tracing the blues trail, will now find a stop in Pascagoula.
"They say it goes from the crossroads to the backroads. Well today, it goes to the sandy beachfront roads of Pascagoula and Jackson County," said Pascagoula City Council Member Brenda Simkins.
A little music from Margie Joseph readies the crowd for the official unveiling.
"The blues is a Mississippi heritage. And we want to keep it alive. We want the young people to understand the history of it," said Phyllis Owens, President of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues Commission.
Former Moss Point band director Otis Carter knows all too well the power of the blues to communicate culture and evoke emotion.
"Me being a music teacher, it just touches your soul. It touches every bone. I love seeing little kids. When they hear the music, they just automatically start bobbing heads and patting feet," said a smiling Carter.
The new blues marker in Pascagoula is the sixth one on the coast, but the first one for Jackson County. Another marker will be dedicated in Moss Point, later this year.