New Housing Concept Comes to Biloxi

The old Bayou Auguste public housing complex came down last summer, to make room for a whole new look, 276 apartments and single family homes. At a public hearing Thursday, architects showed off preliminary plans for the new homes.

Developers say Biloxi was chosen for the federal grant because of its strong governmental support, and HUD's recognition of Biloxi as a community whose look keeps changing.

"This is going to work in Biloxi because this is an entirely new thing. It's good for Biloxi because the East Biloxi area, compared to what it is now and what it should be, it's going to be a unique wonderful opportunity for the entire Biloxi," said Biloxi Housing Authority Director Edward Jagnandan.

"The casinos have made a difference. There's an influx of workers, probably 10-thousand workers who provide another potential residence base in the Bayview/Bayou Auguste area," said developer Merrill Diamond of Boston.

Since this is the first Hope 6 program in Mississippi, Councilman Eric Dickey says others in the state will watch the project's success. Public housing has long had the reputation of being called the projects, but this program's goal is to change that by building a neighborhood unlike any other in Biloxi.

"What we're trying to do is create a mixed income community to have a lot of different types of housing instead of just having a concentration of poor people as it has been for decades," says Diamond.

Councilman Eric Dickey says, "You will have new housing, community centers, commercial usage, all sorts of, what you would find in a normal neighborhood."

Nearby resident Derek Pride likes the idea of changing the public housing image, and says it will take community involvement.

"As residents of the neighborhood we are going to have to clean up our neighborhood to make this whole situation work"

Jagnandan says work should start on the 40 acre site within eight months. It is located between Nixon Street and Nicholls Junior High School.