Biloxi Island Goes On Auction Block

As an artist, Merle Izard Higgison loves beautiful things. She marvels at the pristine beauty of Cedar Lake Island. The 44-acre island is surrounded by the Tchoutacabouffa River.

Her great grandfather, L.N. Dantzler, bought the property before the Civil War. The area was once the site of the huge Dantzler sawmill. Now, descendants of the family are ready to sell.

Merle Izard Higgison says it seemed like it was time. She says during her lifetime, she would like to see what will happen to the land. Higgison says it's dear to her, because her father brought her over to see the island when she was a little girl.

The island has remained untouched for decades. It, a nearby 3-acre peninsula and 4-acre waterfront property, including a two-bedroom cedar gatehouse, are also for sale. The owners have been preparing the properties for sale. They've added a sewage treatment plant and a bridge that connects the island to the mainland.

Several interested buyers showed up at a public auction on Wednesday, hoping to become the new owners. Tom Newman is a real estate developer. He says the island is a very nice piece of property, and looks pretty on the Tchoutacabouffa River. Gary Tauscher owns some property directly across the river. He thinks the Cedar Lake area could complement his property, or it might make a nice area to develop.

But as the auction was about to start, the owners decided to cancel it. The reason -- they say the potential buyers had questions about the properties, like what exactly could be developed there. Instead, the owners will negotiate one on one with the potential buyers, so both sides could better work out the conditions of the sale.

Merle Higgison has one wish for the area's future. She hopes the new owners will keep it in its natural state.