A Tale of Two
by Keith Burton - GCN 9/2/07
Most Coast residents know that there has long been a competition of sorts between Gulfport, the state's second largest city, and Biloxi, the tourism capital of the state. This competition has continued even into the aftermath of Katrina with both cities seeking to put their best face on the disaster.
Since Katrina, Biloxi is considered to be doing better than Gulfport in the recovery. While there are plenty of examples to demonstrate each city's progress, perhaps none is more striking than the actual symbols of those cities, that being each community's City Hall.
Biloxi had flood waters in its downtown as also Gulfport, but Katrina's storm surge just lapped at the steps of both buildings. Both also had wind damages. But Biloxi's City Hall has been repaired inside and out, while at two years and counting, Gulfport's City Hall is yet to renovated. Gulfport City Hall still has temporary plastic covering the shingles, its cupola is badly damaged as is the building's fascia. There are water leaks and stains in the interior and cracks in the building's columns. Gulfport will eventually repair its City Hall, but no date has been announced. The repairs will surely be costly.
Still, despite the condition of Gulfport's City Hall, the city halls in Pass Christian and Waveland are only memories. Those cities are operating in temporary trailers. The city hall building in Long Beach still exists but it has been closed since the hurricane and that city is operating in temporary buildings near its fire department headquarters. Bay St. Louis purchased the former Singing River Electric offices after the hurricane an is operating from there.