Storm Damaged Pass Christian Yacht Club Is Back

PASS CHRISTIAN (WLOX) -- A significant piece of south Mississippi's culture and heritage is back. The Pass Christian Yacht Club has moved out of a trailer, and into its new, $3 million home.

Hurricane Katrina destroyed every yacht club between Bay St. Louis and Ocean Springs. Pass Christian is the first facility to reopen.

Will Seemann is a member of the Pass Christian Yacht Club.  He spent part of the Memorial Day weekend with his fishing buddies out in the open gulf, 90 miles due south of the new yacht club.

"It's definitely going to be a nice little stimulation to this downtown area in Pass Christian," the yacht club member said, referring to the new one story building that sits on top of concrete pilings. "We're all excited it's here, definitely."

The yacht club is on the same footprint where the old building was, until it got washed away by the 2005 hurricane. The replacement complex is considered a tribute to a city that got rocked by Katrina, but now seems to be sailing in much calmer waters.

Seemann called it, "One more step in getting Pass Christian back."

Geo Morse is a third generation Pass Christian yachtsman. His family moved back to the area, and rejoined the yacht club just in time for its grand reopening.

"This is magnificent. It really is. And it's just a new landmark for the entire coast," he said while fishing with his daughter.

The PCYC is considered the birthplace of yachting in the south. It's also known for its ability to reinvent itself after a storm. Katrina is the third different hurricane that forced Pass Christian members to build a new yacht club. The other damaging storms were the hurricane of 1915, and Hurricane Camille.

Architects designed the new Pass Christian Yacht Club to be 26 feet above the water.

"We want to be the center point of the community," Chuck Wood said.

Wood serves on the yacht club building committee. Even though the facility was closed on Monday so workers could rest after a long weekend celebration, Wood met WLOX News at the yacht club and marveled at what was built.

He called it, "a commitment to the community as well as our members. Its going back home. It's another part of going back home. They wanted to get back to something that's normal. I think it's very important to have some things that are normal that we had before storm. So many things are not like they used to be as you well know. We want things to be, help the mental state of the people as much as anything."

Two more yacht clubs should reopen in July. Construction of both the Gulfport and the Bay Waveland Yacht Clubs should be done in less than two months.