Skip to comments.Biloxi Got It Right (Katrina Anniversary)
Posted on 08/27/2006 7:53:02 AM PDT by mcg2000
BILOXI - While New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin continues to get criticized for his actions and inactions before, during and after Hurricane Katrina, Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway has been a media darling.
It seems that Holloway, 63, has made all of the right moves before, during and after the big storm.
Despite that fact that many Biloxi neighborhoods were hit just as hard as Waveland and Bay St. Louis, Holloway's keen preparation and a little luck helped him and his city get back into the fight more quickly than most.
I put our success to the people of Biloxi, Holloway said. We were doing very well before the hurricane, and I think they were all proud of the success we were having. I think that carried over.
The day after the storm, our people cried all their tears and then got out there and started doing what they had to do. Plus, all of the help from everyone across the country, and their help keeps pouring in every day.
That and the fact that Holloway happened to take out a $10 million insurance policy for the city just 60 days before Katrina came crashing into the Gulf Coast.
We'd been talking about this business interruption for about a year, Holloway said. I knew it was a matter of when, not if, we were going to get another pretty good hurricane.
Holloway recalled that when Hurricane Georges came through in 1998, many of the casinos were down six to eight weeks, with Treasure Bay out of commission for six months.
So, it only stood to reason that if a big storm were to come again, it would take a chunk out of Biloxi's operation expenses.
And considering that 38 percent of Biloxi's revenue comes from the casino business, Holloway was looking out for the city's best interests.
It makes a hell of a difference in your income, Holloway said. But we never dreamed there would be a hurricane like Katrina that would knock all of the casinos out for months at a time.
So, based on six months' income, Holloway and Biloxi took out a $10 million policy in June 2005.
Guess what, you can't get that kind of policy now, Holloway said.
But while other communities were struggling with tax base, Biloxi was working with money that was gained from Holloway's vision.
What Holloway never envisioned, however, was a storm like Katrina. He, his wife and family had been through Camille in 1969 and every other storm that came since then at his family home.
He had every intention of doing the same with Katrina, until he got a call early Sunday morning, Aug. 28.
Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore asked Holloway to come down to the beach to do an interview.
You know when Cantore shows up in your town, that can't be good, Holloway said. Because they put him wherever they think the action is going to be.
When the interview was finished, Cantore pulled him aside and told Holloway something he will never forget.
He said, A.J., this is a bad son of a bitch. It's covering the whole Gulf of Mexico right now. There's no way we can escape it. All the ingredients are there. It's worse than Camille.'
Cantore then went on to tell Holloway to go and take one final drive around Biloxi, because you won't see it like this tomorrow.
Before Holloway could get off the beach, he was on his cell phone to his wife telling her to call the kids, Tell 'em we're going up to City Hall.
And that's where Holloway and family rode out the storm.
We could see it coming, and then the debris came with cars and trucks floating by the building, Holloway said. I never thought we would be back where we are today, that day that I walked out there and saw the destruction.
He said the one thing that made the recovery quick was the Mississippi Legislature's approval of a change in gaming law that allows the casinos to move 800 feet onshore. The law previously required them to be over water, whether on boats or barges.
That allowed three casinos to get open in 31/2 months, Holloway said. And the business they have done has been nearly 75 percent of what nine casinos normally did, pre-Katrina.
Six casinos are now open with the Beau Rivage expected to open Tuesday. Some estimate that when all of the property at Point Cadet is cleared and sold, there could ultimately be as many as 15 casinos in Biloxi.
And the money that comes in will allow Holloway and the city of Biloxi to continue the rebuilding process throughout the rest of town, where poorer people are still having a hard time getting back on their feet.
We know a lot of people are still hurting. We do, Holloway said. We are working hard. The state is working hard, and we are working to get as much as we can from the federal government to make sure we get as many people on their feet as quickly as possible. That is our plan.
So far, Holloway's plans have worked out pretty well.
In this article I note zero whining about how anything was Bush's fault, or white people's fault. Unlike some others I could name. Could it be there is a strong positive correlation between having a can-do attitude and achieving success?
The day after the storm, our people cried all their tears and then got out there and started doing what they had to do."
A lil different from New Orleans, eh?
One name explains this readiness and acceptance; Camille.
I know you're busy with the Ernesto thread, but this is worth reading.
"A lil different from New Orleans, eh?"
You got that right.
I went to do volunteer work there, and those home owners were right there helping us every step of the way. Yes, there were tears, but no whinning, and no poor poor me. Not once did I hear anything about Bush.
I might also point out a lack of whining from the people of Ocean Springs, Gautier, Pascagoula, Bayou La Batre, and Mobile.
Now come down and gamble y'all the Beau opens on Tuesday !!!!!
I'll bet there is an (R) after his name!
Yep .... MAYOR A.J. HOLLOWAY (R)
Thanks for coming down and helping out!! we appreciate it!! :)
Somebody's crying about writing a $10MM losing policy !
Whip it on...would love to see it!
HAHAHA, now thats about right
I've got friends over in Houston who are counting the days until BR reopens on Tuesday...heck, we in Mobile are counting down the days also...now if Ernesto will just die out in the Gulf this should be a great week!
"Thanks for coming down and helping out!! we appreciate it!! :)"
Your welcome. It changed my life. Hard to explain.
Plus, I learned how to make BREAD PUDDING, (never had it before)it is a favorite in my house now. Yumm Yumm!
..Well Admiral Nagan, what have you too say about how well your neighboring Mayor did and is doing?.....*cricket,cricket*..(noting the MSM's absence in relating how well other major cities are fairing)
"People want to give me money, man," a grinning Nagin said this week, adding that he's turned down some invitations to far-flung fund-raisers. "I'm just taking it. You want to give me some money? I'll take it."
- Ray Nagin
I was living with my parents when Katrina hit while awaiting my home that was being built. They lost most of their roof and a bradford pear in the front yard fell over blocking my car & my dad's truck. The three of us went out when things calmed down to try and get it moved so I could go check on my house...within minutes everyone of their neighbors were down there with saws, branch cutters, you name it, helping us. I'm taling people with an average age of 75...Took almost 2 hours but we succeeded....that's what folks do here in the south! Help each other out!
I hope you enjoy your stay at B.R., it's looking AWESOME! We've all worked hard to rebuild it, and we're proud of what we've done. Hope ya win some money!
It's been a life changing event for both sides, those that live here, and those that came to help. I do not have the words to express our sincere gratitude to all those that given so much. G-d bless all of you and your families.
seems like the comrades in louisiana could learn much from the folks in mississippi.
Thought you'd like to see this
Note to those on dial up - slide show file is about 9MB, so get a cup of coffee.
THanks for putting this up, I was stationed at Keesler and made many a TDY to the area. Always enjoyed the Gulf Coast.
Now, maybe, they won't be so hard on Yankees - maybe. ; )
"...before, during and after Hurricane Katrina, Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway has been a media darling."
And deservedly so. Biloxi's recovery and the actions of Mayor Holloway should receive front page coverage in every major newspaper in the country. This article is certainly available to all of the news outlets. It's in their faces, actually.
But they'd rather report all of Nagin's drivel and excuses. I guess we know why.
What a great leader!
I thought so too! Almost posted that this morning after reading it. LOL! (Glad you did, though.)
A great big thank you to all who came down(and many are still here,I just met some the other day getting coffee at my favorite coffee shop right outside Keesler at the end of Pass Road) and volunteered time and sweat(lots of sweat,LOL),and to those who sent money and other things to the Coast. Y'all are the best!
Cool, I'm coming with my husband to eat then! My niece-in-law worked there in entertainment, I assume that she still does.
Well it wouldn't reflect well on one of the media's pet "victim" stories to acknowledge that things weren't all snafu'd up in other places, that were smaller and had fewer resources(not to mention run by a Republican governor and mayor,in a conservative state),than they were by the minority darling of the media,Nagin,and their little pets the Rats(Blanco).
I don't know alot of people in entertainment but they work hard. Hope you and your husband have a great time and win big! The Beau will leave the light on for ya lol:)
Where is the gambling going to be at the Beau? I know they had their hotel right there off the highway, with the barges behind it. Have they built a new casino facility right there, or did they move the casino across to the North side of 90? Have any of them taken the opportunity to acquire the land to the North of 90 to build land based casinos?
I chipped in a little, and mentioned Mississippi's disaster at church because it seemed to me that Louisiana got all the publicity. The church contacted a friend in Georgia who suggested we support De Kalb (GA) Baptist Association's work in putting roofs on damaged church buildings in Mississippi.
So the church participated in that way, fairly substantially. We couldn't go there and do any good directly, so we were delighted to hold the coats of the people who could and did. We took it to be appropriate stewardship of the money in question, which otherwise would have gone to a building fund up here.
That's perfect,getting a roof over people's heads is the beginning of normality.When people start feeling secure and that they can have a routine,they find the momentum to plow into the next priorities. I thank you and your church,God bless y'all!
This one sentence is what TRULY inspired and impressed me about the people of MS. I saw folks without roofs out helping folks without walls. The spirit and strength of the people here blew me away and made me capable of pulling myself up by the boot straps and starting over. Folks can say just WHATEVER they want about this state but if you'd come and see it, meet the people and hear the stories, attitudes about southerners would change forever. May I also add that it was all races working together as neighbors. It was a beautiful thing.