If the casino industry is the economic engine that drives the coast, the 26 mile sand beach surely supplies much of the horsepower.
More than 14 months after the storm, large stretches of beach remain closed. But the sand beach director prefers to focus on the eight areas that are now open.
"We know we're making progress. We still have a ways to go, but we feel now that this debris offshore has pretty much been removed, at least the first 15 hundred feet of it. We're not seeing as much of that debris coming in on us," says beach director Bobby Weaver.
Allen Beverages donated a new trailer to help with the never ending task of keeping the beach litter free. The longtime resident who presented the gift, says the beach is the coast's most important asset.
Margaret Allen Moise says she can't imagine the coast without its beautiful beach.
"I love the sunsets. I love to watch the water, to see the birds. It's just a wonderful place to live," she says.
Hurricane Katrina washed away some 800 thousand cubic yards of sand. The Corps of Engineers will begin a replenishment project by early next year.
"We were hopeful for sometime this fall, but it looks like it may be the first of the year before we start seeing sand pumped on the beach," says Weaver.
Weaver says one important part of the beach's recovery is the plan to rebuild the storm battered boardwalk. He'll be discussing that issue with the board of supervisors on October 23rd. And don't be surprised if the new boardwalk looks quite a bit different.
"Will it be a timber form? Maybe not. That's one of the encouraging things, that hopefully maybe we'll be able to do something with concrete entirely," he explained.
A concrete walkway would stand up better to future storms and be easier for beach crews to maintain.
Whatever the final form, Weaver is confident the sand beach will always be a coast treasure.
"It's also a good symbol for this coast that people take pride in. This is our front yard. This is what people come and they see, whether you're in Biloxi or Pass Christian, you come and see this beach."
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