Slavic Golf Tourney Is Back

Broken bricks and wild weeds cover a corner lot at the Myrtle Street, First Street intersection. For decades, that lot was home to the Slavic Benevolent Association. It's current president is Andrew Gilich.

"Like everyone else, our organization was a victim of Hurricane Katrina," Gilich tells reporters at a news conference announcing his group's golf tournament.

The Slavic Benevolent Association lost its lodge. A building where so many pusharatas were made, and so many parties were thrown crumbled to the ground.

"I can't describe it," lodge member John Cosmich says.

He left the colorful descriptions of the storm to his father.

"Ain't nothing you can do about it, unless they build a new one," the 97 year old says. "I could help them build a new one. Have to get my tools."

It's a good thing everybody knows Cosmich is the oldest member of the Slavic group, because when the lodge broke apart, a piece of paper from 1929 disappeared.

"One of the things we lost was his application membership. It was in this building at the time of the storm," Gilich says, pointing to a picture of the lodge he pulled out of a hurricane debris pile.

That lodge was where so many memories were made. It was where children learned about Slavic traditions. Those attributes will always be part of this hard working group, no matter where they meet.

"It's our heritage. It's what we believe in," the younger Cosmich says. "We're hard working people, my dad still wants to work. That's what we believe in, work and family."

The Slavics believe in one other thing - staying on the Point. They've received several enticing offers since the hurricane to sell their corner lot. So members are busy searching for a new property to call home. It has to be east of Oak Street. That way, future generations can carry on the traditions started by people like Bill Cosmich. Don't be surprised if the 97 year old helps build the next Slavic lodge.

"Yeah, I can get out and work a little bit," he says with a smile.

The Slavic Benevolent Association is temporarily meeting in downtown Biloxi. It took over some office space on Main Street where Kay's flower shop once did business.