President Recognizes "Mississippi Spirit" In One Bay Business Owner

When President Bush pointed out the progress in South Mississippi since Katrina on Wednesday, he pointed to Bay St. Louis business woman Kay Gough.

"She was concerned about her community. So what did she do? She opened a bookstore on Main Street, Bay St. Louis," President Bush said of Gough. "The first business to open up, one of the first."

"It was pretty unbelievable, I think surreal would be the best way to describe it," Gough said. "I just couldn't have expected that he would say 'Bay Books' and 'Kay Gough.' It was pretty amazing."

Kay Gough and her son Edward opened the Main Street book store in the Bay 11 months ago. She never dreamed it would bring her presidential praise.

"I was in awe. Frankly, I never expected to meet the President, and sit beside the First Lady while he was making his presentation. I was surprised to find myself there."

Word of that surprise came last weekend when a White House staffer called to invite her to Bush's Katrina visit. She jumped at the chance to tell the president about progress, and what still needs to be done.

"The thing that's really important to remember is that he wasn't just talking about me. Bay Books and what Edward and I have done here since the storm was a good example, but that's what we were an example of - people who have worked to rebuild," Gough said. "And what he said was, 'This is an example of the Mississippi spirit.' So any business or resident along the Gulf Coast could have been in my situation."

"It's that community spirit that has been very impressive to Laura and me," Bush said.