Story and Photos by Keith
Burton - GCN 6/3/08
Before the storm, Beauvoir received more visitors than any other heritage house in Mississippi. The $3.9 million restoration returned the home to its appearance during the when U.S. statesman and Confederate President Jefferson Davis retired.
Nearby the home is the much more modern Jefferson Davis Presidential Library. The library was too damaged to be rebuilt and it is currently being demolished. Officials at the site say that the library will be rebuilt just to the west on higher ground. The library remains a reminder of what could not be saved from Katrina. The good news is that many of the historic items were saved. (Photo Left: Jefferson Davis Presidential Library)
The library, as well as several other lost structures, are expected to be completed by 2011.
Today is also the 200th anniversary of Davis' birth. A birthday cake was served to guests as well as champagne when the center opened in the morning.
The parking lot was nearly full of visitors shortly after noon. U.S. 90 traffic, currently one lane westbound due to its reconstruction, was nearly at a standstill. In all regards, today's opening would have to be an indication that Beauvoir remains an important and well-loved south Mississippi landmark.
Beauvoir took a mighty hit when Katrina moved ashore. The photo (right) was taken a few weeks after Katrina came ashore. While almost every antebellum home on the Coast was destroyed, Beauvoir survived, though in very bad condition. The porches and large sections of the roof were torn off and the interior, which was filled with period furniture and mural walls, was initially thought irreplaceable.