BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It's quite possible that Susan Hunt is the unofficial ambassador for the City of Biloxi. The longtime educator and community leader can talk her way through any situation and build lasting relationships that span generations.
Talking to people is what she does. She talks to anyone and everyone, especially when she's working at Mary Mahoney's Old French House.
Most maître d's just take reservations and seat guests. Not Susan. She'll find out who you are, where you're from, who's your mama, and if you're lucky, you'll get a history lesson, or a tour of Mahoney's basement winery.
Bobby Mahoney has his own humorous, unique perspective when it comes to Susan. "When she's here, these people are lined up," he said. "She wants to talk all day."
Hunt says it's because she's never met a stranger. "I can get on an elevator and know everyone before I get off," Hunt said. "I love to talk, and I love to find about people because it's all about relationships. I might not know you, but if we go back far enough, I'll know who you are."
It's a formula that worked during her 30+ years as a teacher, college recruiter, principal and counselor. She also serves as an advocate for Excel By 5, an interactive early childhood community certification process focused on young people.
"I love working with young people," Hunt added. "I love making a difference in people's lives to try and help do what I can."
That also includes her service as a board member for at least nine organizations, and her honorary commander role she received from the Hurricane Hunters at Keesler Air Force Base. Then there's her historical ties to Mardi Gras, the Gulf Coast Carnival Association, her work at the Mardi Gras Museum and her role on Fat Tuesday.
"When the parade starts, I'm a streetwalker," she said. "I pick up beads and give them to people."
In return, Susan's pay-it-forward reward comes in the form of baked goods like homemade bread, brownies and banana pudding.
With all that going on, there's no wonder about why Susan Hunt is South Mississippi Strong.