Pass Harbor to receive $25M for expansion, recovery

By Rebecca Powers - bio | email

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - Pass Christian is getting $25 million in Katrina recovery funds to expand the city's harbor, which was destroyed by the 2005 storm and damaged again in Hurricane Gustav this year.

With the roar of commercial fishing vessels behind him, Governor Haley Barbour stood on the docks to announce a huge step forward for the city and the seafood industry as a whole.

Commercial fishermen get dirty, working long, hard, tedious days. So does Darlene Kimball who stands in Pass Christian's harbor from sun up to sun down. She lost her Crystal Seas Seafood building twice to Katrina and then Gustav, and now works out of a cargo trailer buying seafood to ship across the country.

"I purchase the oysters from the fisherman and then everything goes to a dealer for processing," Kimball said.

Neither Darlene, nor her employees or any of the oystermen slowed down their pace for a second, even when the Governor and his entourage appeared on their docks. They didn't realize it, but what he was about to say was huge

"I am pleased to let you know that we have allocated $25 million of the state's community block grant funds to go into making this harbor what it ought to be," Gov. Barbour said.

The governor promises this money will expand Pass Christian's commercial fishing harbor to one of the finest and most well built in the state.

"We all know that fishing has been an enormous part of the coast's economy, longer than we can remember. Probably back when the french came in 1699."

These hardworking people who keep that 300 year old Coast tradition alive say they are thrilled for their industry and for the town they love.

"I think it's wonderful. We really need it, the fishermen need it, our town needs it. A lot of people work hard to get so far in life and we really deserve it," Kimball said.

Governor Barbour expects HUD to approve the $25 million in about two weeks, and for work to begin on those harbor improvements soon afterwards.