biloxi beach

This stretch of white sand and gray water hugs the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico in Biloxi, Mississippi, but continues into the neighboring town of Gulfport. This Street View picture was taken right across the street from Beauvoir, the restored beach home where former Confederate President Jefferson Davis spent his final years in the 1880s. The water here is shallow and warm year-round. It’s a very peaceful place, even when it’s bustling, which wasn’t when this photo was taken.

I have strong personal memories of Biloxi Beach. I walked on this beach with my best friend, Phil Vincent, while we drank beers and talked about heavy metal; we were there to see Ozzy Osbourne at the Gulf Coast Arena, which is right next door to Beauvoir. Sepultura was the opening act. We also returned in December 1997 to see Pantera at the same venue, another amazing show. Phil passed away in 2000.

biloxi aerial

Back in the 1990s, Biloxi Beach was a busy place. The shore was lined with casino hotels and the mooring docks you see in the distance, now empty, contained a faux pirate ship (also a casino) and a permanently moored cruise liner. All that is gone now. Hurricane Katrina destroyed this coastline, and while I haven’t been back here since then, I can tell just from the Google Earth photos that the area hasn’t recovered. It now seems empty and forlorn. It’s a strange sight.

Someday I will come back here, but I have no expectation it will be like it was 15 or 20 years ago. Katrina changed the South in ways, both highly visible and subtle, and it’s just not the same place anymore.