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Tourism Cares Announces $100,000 for Gulf Coast Restoration

Sale of Green Wristbands Provide Hope Amid Destruction


-Sites in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida to Receive Grants-


From: Tourism Cares                 Filed 7/11/06 GCN


Canton, MA, July 11, 2006: Tourism Cares announced today the recipients of grants provided by the Gulf Coast Restoration Fund. The fund, initiated by the sale of green wristbands stating “Tourism Cares for the Gulf Coast” began within weeks of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hitting the Gulf Coast. All revenues from the sales have been earmarked to “make a difference” in the rebuilding and restoration of the Gulf Coast’s historic and cultural sites.  TripMate matched all sales, and several organizations, including Ensemble Travel, Tauck World Discovery, VacationWired.com and Tourism Cares itself, provided matching donations at various events and conferences over the past 9 months. 


“The travel community came together to assist those in need along the Gulf Coast,” said Bruce Beckham, Executive Director of Tourism Cares. He added, “The funds collected to date will be distributed to various non-profit tourism sites affected by the 2005 hurricane season. Tourism is a most important economic generator in these devastated regions and the grants will assist in the restoring and rebuilding of these sites.  The need remains and the sale of wristbands will continue for some time.”


In March 2006, the Tourism Caring for America-Gulf Coast program brought together more than 330 volunteers for 2 days of hard work assisting in the clean-up of various sites along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. “We must never forget our friends on the Gulf Coast, whether it is through dollars donated or physical assistance offered. It is appreciated by those who lost so much and are working daily to bring their community back” said Beckham.


The Grant Recipients are:


Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library,

Biloxi, Mississippi

Beauvoir was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina. It is one of the few remaining historical sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It is listed on the National Historic Register, a National Historic Landmark, a Mississippi, Archaeological Landmark, and was recently placed on the National Trust for Historic Places’ list of 11 Most Endangered Sites. The Grant provided by Tourism Cares is earmarked for the restoration of The Mansion and the Presidential Library.


Lynn Meadows Discovery Center,

Gulfport, Mississippi

The Lynn Meadows Discovery Center is a children’s museum serving local and regional residents. For the children of Biloxi and surrounding towns devastated by Hurricane Katrina, Lynn Meadows provides an “escape” to let them be children again. Grant funding provided by Tourism Cares will support operations.


Save our Cemeteries-St. Louis Cemetery No. 1

New Orleans, Louisiana

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, founded in 1789, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was named a Save America’s Treasures site in 2000. The floodwaters that submerged 80% of New Orleans for two weeks destroyed the landscaping, leaving behind dead trees and brown and shriveled vegetation. Grant funding from Tourism Cares will allow removal of dead vegetation and trees, and installation of new trees and plantings to cultivate a sense of renewal and revival to this important and often visited tourist site. St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 was the site of the Tourism Caring for America Clean-Up and Restoration event in 2004.


The Beaumont Heritage Society-John Jay French House Museum

Beaumont, Texas

The historic pioneer settlement is replete with antique furnishings, clothing and pioneer household utensils. Damage sustained by Hurricane Rita on September 24, 2005 was substantial.  The house museum has roof damage from fallen trees and the entire roof was loosened by the wind. Grant funds from Tourism Cares will be applied toward covering any roof repair not covered by insurance. 


The Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum

Biloxi, Mississippi

The Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum documents the history and regional impact of the seafood industry in the Southeastern United States. The building experienced catastrophic damage, only a portion of the façade and a partially roofed section of the building remain.


Most of the museum’s collection remains exposed to outdoor weather conditions with the exception of the artifacts trapped under a portion of the collapsed concrete roof. Safe shoring, jacking and lifting of the concrete roof pad and layered removal of other building debris are required to retrieve buried exhibit materials. Grant funding from Tourism Cares will assist with the salvage, conservation and reestablishment of the museum and its Sea-n-Sail Adventure Camp.


USS ALABAMA Battleship Foundation, Inc.

Mobile, Alabama

The USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park prominently displays two of America’s National Historic Landmarks: the Battleship USS ALABAMA and the Submarine USS DRUM.  The park’s mission is to memorialize veterans of all branches of the United States Armed Services while preserving history and educating future generations. Located on Mobile Bay, the park suffered immense damage from Hurricane Katrina’s high winds and storm surge.  Grant funding from Tourism Cares will be used to assist in the repairing and replacement of various elements within the Battleship Memorial Park complex.


West Florida Historic Preservation, Inc.-Museum of Commerce

Pensacola, Florida

The 17,000 square feet of the Museum of Commerce was built in 1890.  Inside this brick turn-of –the-century warehouse is a reconstructed late 19th-century streetscape. On exhibit are a toy store, leather shop, hardware store, music shop, barbershop and print shop, all with original artifacts. The print shop contains one of the most complete collections of antique presses and type in the Southeast. The museum is a major attraction and valuable asset to the downtown historic district. The building, located two blocks from Pensacola Bay, sustained hurricane force winds from Hurricane Katrina. Grant funding provided by Tourism Cares will assist with roof repairs.


Tourism Cares is a non-profit 501(c)(3) public charity, supported by the tourism industry, that gives back through scholarships to tourism students and grants to cultural and historic sites throughout the world. For additional information about Tourism Cares, please visit www.tourismcares.org.

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