Gen. Griffith To Head Biloxi Renaissance Committee

Clark Griffith thinks there are two ways to look at the damaged Biloxi Port Commission building. One way is to shudder at how one storm did so much damage to one waterfront complex.

"On the other hand, I look at this and say my goodness, the thing is still standing," he said.

The retired Keesler general must stress the positive. Griffith has been asked to chair a committee that revives the Biloxi renaissance.

"I'm a facilitator," he said. "I've got to get all of these pieces going in the same direction."

Biloxi's mayor asked General Griffith to chair what's being called the Reviving the Renaissance steering committee.

When A.J. Holloway announced the Griffith selection at the mayor's State of the City address , he struggled with an important word in his speech.

"I want to res$%#," the mayor started, stumbling over the word resurrect. In a way, it was similar to how Biloxians have struggled in the days after Katrina, watching backhoes haul off their hurricane damaged homes.

After several seconds, Holloway finally got out what he was trying to say.

"I want to resurrect the renaissance that we were having," he said.

The committee members who will help turn devastation into prosperity haven't been chosen yet. Once they are, they'll have three months to look beyond the debris trucks, sift through charrette designs, listen to neighbors and determine what's right and what's realistic for Biloxi's recovery.

"We're not going to get everything done within the first 90 days," Gen. Griffith said. "But with some help from a lot of good people that are here already, we're going to get a lot of that done, particularly as far as east Biloxi is concerned."

East Biloxi -- a debris field today. But in Gen. Griffith's eyes, an important part of Biloxi's revival.

He said the steering committee may have as many as 75 members. And they would make up a cross section of Biloxi's diverse population.