October 20, 2008 at 9:22 PM CDT - Updated June 30 at 3:55 PM
The gracious homestead that Fernando Gautier established in 1867 at the mouth of the Pascagoula River Basin still stands, a hallmark of the city that now bears his name. The roots and pride of the citizens of Gautier are as deep as the stately live oaks that line more than 70 miles of waterfront in this unique city on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. From Gulf of Mexico breezes to the twists and turns of the inland bayous, the natural beauty and quality of life in Gautier beckon modern day "settlers" to enjoy the serenity and amenities Gautier has to offer.
The Gautier Mullet Festival
The Gautier Mullet & Music Fest has become a Gulf Coast Region festival. We promote our music festival regionally and draw attendees from along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, from Memphis, and from along the I-10 corridor through Northwest Florida, Alabama and Louisiana. Each year our festival has grown tremendously. Over 30,000 folks enjoyed the music while attending last year's traditional one day festival. This year we have expanded the festival to two days.
Where tradition meets the future and the water touches the sky.
Pass Christian was named for a nearby deepwater pass, which in turn was named for Nicholas Christian L'Adnier who lived on nearby Cat Island beginning in 1746. (Another nearby pass, Pass Marianne, was named for L'Adnier's wife Marianne Paquet.)
Called, "The Birthplace of Yachting in the South", the first yacht club of the South (and second in the US) was established in 1849. The row of historic mansions along the town's shoreline, especially Scenic Drive, is one of the country's notable historic districts.
Christmas in the Pass
Pass Christian hosts one of Mississippi's best-known yuletide celebrations, Christmas in the Pass, which is a prelude to the approaching holidays. Founded by local merchants since 1985, but avidly embraced by much of the community, the Christmas prelude features: Mid-town street malls that have been closed to traffic, merchant open-houses, caroling, concerts, craft fairs, a brilliantly lighted boat parade, a Santa Claus parade, tree-lighting ceremonies, and holiday merriment.
Each year the merchants and the community add new festivities in preparation to greeting thousands of guests who arrive to promenade throughout the barricaded, traffic-free streets in a cheerful, open-air arena.
On the first Friday of December, holiday revelers are treated to a tree-lighting ceremony as Santa Clause arrives with his elves in a reindeer drawn sleigh. Concert bands and choral groups cheerfully promote a holiday atmosphere for the merry making with the sing-along audience.
Merchants host open-houses offering snacks of yuletide cookies and candies with hot or cold beverages.
An atmosphere for children regales throughout the downtown area with a wonderland at the Park, Holly Trolleys, Santa's Secret Kiddie Land, a Wishing Well, a Doll Display, and photo sessions with Santa.
By the turn of the century Biloxi had become the Seafood Capital of the World. In the 1920s there were more than 40 seafood factories occupying the two cannery districts.
Some of the first fishermen were Austrians from the Dalmatia Coast. In 1890 the Bohemians became the first imported laborers from Baltimore. In 1914 the first Cajun families arrived from Louisiana.
In 1908 the first Mardi Gras Parade took place in Biloxi with John Carraway as King and Miss Blanche Picard as Queen. In 1927 Biloxi hotels included the Edgewater Gulf Hotel, White House Hotel, Tivoli Hotel, Buena Vista Biloxi Hotel, Kennedy Hotel, Park Hotel, Avelez Hotel, and Rivera Hotel. Also, in 1927 the seawall was constructed to protect the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In 1929 the first Blessing of the Shrimp Fleet took place in Biloxi.
Biloxi is home to more of the Gulf Coast's casinos than any other city. From the spinning roulette wheels, to clanking slots hitting, or live table games - you will be amazed at the amount of fun you will have at these coastal hot spots! But if exquisite dining, great entertainment, and non-stop fun get to be a little too much for you, don't worry - many of these casinos offer luxurious full-service spas, where you can be pampered to your heart's content, or "shop til you drop" in their many gift stores! A trip to the casinos on the Mississippi Gulf Coast is sure to make you feel like a winner!
Beauvoir & the Biloxi Lighthouse
Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library, is the nation's most comprehensive site dealing with Mississippi's favorite son and confederate, Jefferson Davis.
A National Historic Landmark, the complex includes the Jefferson Davis Presidential Library, the restored antebellum home, the Confederate Museum and veterans cemetery on 51 landscaped acres fronting the Gulf of Mexico.
Erected in 1848, the Biloxi lighthouse is reportedly the first cast metal lighthouse in the South. The light was civilian operated from 1848 to 1939, and is notable for its several female lightkeepers, including Maria Younghans, who tended the light for 53 years. In 1939, the U.S. Coast Guard assumed responsibility for the light's operation. After being declared surplus property in 1968, the Biloxi Lighthouse was deeded to the City of Biloxi.
From its simple, humble beginnings as a lumber and port city, Gulfport has evolved into a diversified community. With about 6.7 miles of man-made white sandy beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, Gulfport is one of the fastest growing areas in the state, due in part to recent gaming activities. Home of the annual "Worlds Largest Fishing Rodeo," Gulfport is a residential community that is blessed with a strong business center.
The Port of Gulfport has flourished over the years and today accounts for millions of dollars in annual sales and tax revenue for the state of Mississippi.
The downtown area provides a strong mercantile center. Along the beach are historic home sites with several motels scattered throughout to accommodate the golfing and water tourist that make up a large part of the economy.
Gulfport is the largest city on the Gulf Coast and the 2nd largest in the state. Gulfport is home to Emeril's Fishhouse, Lynn Meadow's Discovery Center (one the 50 best children's museums in the US), and many day excursions to the Mississippi Barrier Islands, Gulfport sub-tropical climate, outdoor activities are a year-round option for the Gulf Coast vacationers. Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will find our temperate climate and natural activities second to none. Whether you take an eco-tour to view the wildlife or rent a kayak and paddle on one of our unspoiled rivers and bayous, you are certain to unwind while experiencing nature at its most pristine. Visitors are always excited to get up close and personal views of hundreds of species of birds, animals, and reptiles, including several threatened and endangered species that call Mississippi home.
The City of Long Beach, Mississippi was incorporated as a town on August 10, 1905, though it had been a growing settlement since the mid eighteen hundreds. It is located on Mississippi's Gulf Coast just west of Gulfport and bordered to the south by the Gulf of Mexico and a sugar white, man-made sand beach. Its history depicts the courage, the commitment, and the perseverance of its early settlers, the forebears of many present-day Long Beach residents, as they cleared the land, built their homes, their churches, and overcame obstacles such as those which were faced by all early pioneers. Truly they left to us, their descendants and the citizens of this town, a proud heritage.
No one is a stranger in this very traditional southern city of Long Beach, Mississippi. "The Friendly City" was aptly selected as the town's slogan in 1905, and holds true even today, as our people give of themselves, their time and resources to work for a worthy cause or to help a neighbor in need. The nature of our modern day city is today very similar to that of our original town - friendly, steeped in southern culture and hospitality, and a warm and inviting place to live. Its 20,000 citizens have made this community a "friendly" place to call home.
The Friendship Oak Tree is located on the front lawn of the Southern Miss Gulf Park campus in Long Beach, Miss.
Friendship Oak Measurements
Current measurements show a 50-foot height; diameter of the trunk is 5 feet 9 inches; circumference of the trunk is 18 feet 7 inches; spread of foliage is 156 feet. The average length of the main lateral limbs is 60-66 feet from the trunk; average circumference of the limbs at the trunk is 7 1/2 feet; the tree forms almost 16,000 feet of shelter; and lateral roots go out 150 feet.
On the beachfront of The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park Campus (formerly known as Gulf Park College for Women), overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, is a magnificent live oak tree 500-plus years old. The tree is loved by former students of Gulf Park College, revered by tree lovers, held in fond memory by those whose wedding ceremonies were conducted on the platform within its mighty branches, and viewed daily by tourists.
This is the Friendship Oak.
Friendship Oak keeps her majestic vigil on the Gulf of Mexico, a vigil that dates back to 1487. If asked about her length of stay on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, she might reply, "I was a sapling when Christopher Columbus sailed the Caribbean and I had begun to bear acorns when Ponce de Leon reached Florida in his quest for the Fountain of Youth. In 1587, the year Virginia Dare, the first white child born at Roanoke Island, appeared, I had turned a hundred years old..."
Friendship Oak has seen the history of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and of America unfold.
Pascagoula, the "Singing River" city by the sea has a deep and rich history as a European settlement that goes back over 300 years. Her name is taken from a band of peaceful Native Americans (Pascagoula means "bread eaters") who inhabited the area when Hemando De Soto first made contact with them in the 1540's. Tragically, these noble people are now extinct having drowned themselves chanting as they waded into the deepening river waters rather than enslave themselves to their enemy, the fierce Biloxi. Thus, the legend of the "Singing River" was born. They were followed closely behind by Spanish, French and English settlers.
Interestingly, because of her maritime success, Pascagoula is still a gathering place of nations as they come here to trade, build or buy ships. She is Mississippi's premier and busiest port. Pascagoula is the home of the state's largest employer, Northrop Grumman -"America's Shipbuilder". Other major industries include a Chevron refinery, Signal International, First Chemical Corporation, Mississippi Phosphates and BP/Amoco.
Pascagoula, Mississippi's 8th largest city, is the County Seat of Jackson County. It is home to approximately 30,000 residents with a daytime population of perhaps twice that many. In 1965, through the progressive vision of a burgeoning business community, she began operating under the Council-Manager form of government.
Though Pascagoula boasts grand Spanish moss laden live oaks, splendid ante-bellum structures and charms of the old South, she also has the breeziness, pleasant ambiance and architecture of a New England fishing village. While she enjoys a comfortable coexistence with some mammoth industries, she stubbornly maintains the quiet dignity, quality of life and tenacious preservation of natural beauty more characteristic of a rural community.
The Legend of the Singing River: The Singing River, in Pascagoula, murmurs a tragic tale of Indian lore. The Pascagoula Indians were a tribe of contented, idyllic people, whereas the Biloxi Indians considered themselves the "first people" and were enemies of the Pascagoula. Anola, a princess of the Biloxi tribe, was in love with Altama, Chief of the Pascagoulas. She was betrothed to a chieftain of her own tribe, but fled with Altama to his people. Faced with enslavement by the Biloxi tribe, the Pascagoulas joined hands and began to chant a song of death as they walked into the river until the last voice was hushed by the dark, engulfing waters. The Singing River is famous worldwide for the noise it makes, like a swarm of bees. The music, which grows nearer and louder until it seems to come from under foot, is best heard in the still of evening, during late summer and autumn. Various scientific explanations have been offered for the phenomenon, but none have been proven. Many believe it is the death song of the Pascagoula tribe.