Pass Christian Resident Buys His City A Beautiful Gift

The tree sculptor who has given some of the coast's dead oaks new life as beautiful art is back at it this week. Dayton Scoggins of Sandersville is in carving out a design in Pass Christian. While he's worked in the medians of other coast cities, this time, is a little different. This latest project is the gift from Pass Christian resident to his city.

Dayton Scoggins' knack for turning ugly tree limbs into dancing dolphins and other wildlife didn't escape the eye of Pass Christian business owner Brian Alexander. Alexander says he was so impressed with what he's seen in Gulfport and Biloxi, that he couldn't bear to let money problems cause his hometown of to miss out.

"I saw this as the last tree that could be done down here as a piece of art.," said Alexander. "I just wanted to do it.  We don't have a tax base here in Pass Christian to be able to do it. I talked to [Mayor] Chipper McDermott and we just couldn't afford to do it, so I just said that I would do it myself. I just wanted to help out."

Alexander won't say how much it cost him to hire Scoggins and his sons - only that the price included lodging.

"It's not the point of how much it costs," he said. "It's the point of doing a good deed and me just helping out the community. Just give a little bit back is all I wanted to do."

Alexander says he came up with the design himself. He wanted something that reflected the culture and spirit of the small town.

"I want to incorporate the oyster shell because Pass Christian has always been known for the oystering and the shrimping. That's why I want to put a sail boat on there and a shrimp boat," he said.

Alexander says he's about to start rebuilding the home he lost in Katrina. He hopes the delicate tree carvings will be an encouragement in Pass Christian's journey back from devastation.

"I think it will really help. I think people will see art and the beauty of it and just see that's the beginning of a new beginning."

Brian Alexander owns a small plumbing company in Pass Christian. He says the tree carving project should be finished by Thursday.