Residents Gather For Christmas On The Avenue In Long Beach Post Katrina

A little Christmas cheer is sweet relief for the citizens of Long Beach.

The throngs of holiday well wishers was a testament to how much Christmas on the Avenue was wanted and needed in this Holiday season following so much tragedy in South Mississippi.

"It's a sign saying we're coming back," says Frank Olaivar, President of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce. "We're going to be just like we were. We're going to come back bigger and better. And the first step is to start bringing the community back together and this is the way to do it."

Mittal Steel, the international steel conglomerate that has wholeheartedly committed itself to helping rebuild Long Beach is the primary reason that Christmas on the Avenue was held this year.

Sunday, the company's CEO himself showed up with yet another commitment to these devastated but determined citizens of Long Beach.

"We've approved already a million dollars in funds that we'd like to contribute in the most effective way possible to the recovery effort," says Lou Schorsck, CEO of Mittal Steel. "I think we're very close to being able to help support the city in rebuilding 3 of the important public buildings here, the Police Department, the Library, and the City Hall."

Governor Haley Barbour a surprise guest along side first lady Marsha Barbour, praised Mittal steels commitment to Long Beach.

"It's symbolic of what's happening as we recover and start to rebuild and people get focused on the future," says Barbour.

As he praised Long Beach citizens seasonal spirit and commitment to a brighter future.

"I remind people that the strong and appropriate response that has occurred in Mississippi is a product of the spirit of our people," announced Governor Barbour to a round of applause from the crowd.