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Biloxi: Economy

Biloxi: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Gaming and tourism is Biloxi's most important industry. By the end of the twentieth century, there were 12 Las Vegas-style casinos in the region, nine of which were in the city of Biloxi. The casinos feature restaurants, floor shows, and round-the-clock gambling. According to a formula devised when gambling was legalized, 8 percent of gross gaming revenue goes to the state and 3.2 percent of gross gaming revenue is distributed among city institutions, including the general fund, the city public safety department, the city school system, the county school system, and the county public safety department. The revenue of Biloxi's casinos exceeded $879 million in 2003, representing the city's greatest single source of revenue. This economic impact is only expected to increase with the opening of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi in the summer of 2005. The lure of gaming has also bolstered the region's tourism industry in general, as many gamblers also visit other area attractions outside of the casinos. In fact, most visitors are no longer merely overnight guests; now the average tourist stays 2.5 days.

The seafood industry contributes $450 million dollars to the Mississippi Gulf Coast economy, supporting an estimated 1,600 shrimp workers and 1,200 employees in seafood processing. Shrimp accounts for about half of the seafood market, contributing $250 million to the economy, followed by oysters, menhaden, and crabs. Thirty-eight seafood processing plants are situated along the Gulf Coast, with 11 in Biloxi. Building boats and producing boat paraphernalia are also big businesses in the area. Ingalls Shipbuilding, based 20 miles east of Biloxi in Pascagoula, employs approximately 10,000 workers, more than any other private employer in Mississippi.

Military and federal government installations are another key sector of the area's economy. The presence in the city of Keesler Air Force Base is responsible for a great part of the employment in the government sector of the economy, which represents nearly a quarter of all employment in the city. Keesler's economic impact on the Mississippi Coast equaled $1.4 billion dollars in 2002. In addition to the 12,600 active-duty personnel, Keesler employs 3,600 civilians and pays $179 million to military retirees. Local contracts initiated through Keesler in 2002 include $120 million in construction and $46.7 million in other local services and supply contracts. The John C. Stennis Space Center, located 45 miles west of Biloxi, impacts the local economy by employing approximately 30,000 military and personnel in more than 20 federal and state agencies. Other federal installations in the region are the Naval Construction Battalion Center, Naval Station Pascagoula, the National Guard facilities in Gulfport, and the Office of Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion & Repair, located about 30 miles east of Biloxi.

Items and goods produced: seafood products, canning, boat building and repair, fishing nets

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

The Harrison County Development Commission works with companies interested in developing or expanding their business in the county. Its services include the coordination of financial incentives, including tax abatements, as well as assisting in industrial park and Foreign Trade Zone activities. The Biloxi Department of Economic & Community Development offers a renovated building tax exemption to businesses that renovate existing structures in the city's central business district.

State programs

A tax credit program is offered through the Mississippi Department of Archives & History for the restoration of buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places or designated as Mississippi Landmarks. The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA), through the Financial Resources Division, administers a variety of incentive programs to assist businesses in development and expansion. For large projects, a primary financial incentive is the Major Economic Impact Authority, which allows the state to issue general obligation bonds to secure up to $300 million for development. Other financial incentive programs administered by the MDA are the Rural Economic Development Assistance Program, Industrial Development Revenue Bond Program, Agribusiness Enterprise Loan, Business Investment Act Program, Energy Investment Program, Guaranty Loan Program, Minority Business Enterprise Loan, Minority Surety Bond Guaranty Program, Small Business Assistance Program, and Small Enterprise Development Finance Program. Additionally, in an effort to attract national and regional headquarters to Mississippi, the state offers income tax credits for each new job created and sales tax exemptions on construction materials and equipment used to build the new facility.

Job training programs

The state of Mississippi provides custom-designed pre-employment training, post-employment training, and upgrade/retraining services for new, expanding, or existing industries. The Employment Training Division of the Mississippi Development Authority administers the Workforce Investment Network (WIN). This network, the state's response to the federal Workforce Investment Act, combines federal, state, and community workforce resources to provide employment and training services to Mississippi employers and job seekers. WIN Job Centers, located throughout the state, provide access to employment, education, training, and economic development services. Other WIN services for employers include a database of qualified job candidates, assistance in writing job descriptions, proficiency testing, labor market data, and information on work opportunity tax credits. The Mississippi Contract Procurement Center, located in Biloxi, provides information about bid opportunities from federal, state, and local government agencies; it also offers training, marketing assistance, technical support, and counseling. The Gulf Coast Business Services Training Program assists local business with employee training.

Development Projects

Construction in Biloxi nearly doubled between 2000 and 2003, rising from an estimated value of $70.7 million to $120.1 million. By early 2005, more than $800 million in construction was in varying stages of development on the Gulf Coast. It is, perhaps, no surprise that some of the largest projects are casinos. The Isle of Capri Casino Resort's $170 million expansion of its Biloxi facility will be completed in the spring of 2005. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi broke ground on a $235 million facility that is expected to open in the summer of 2005. Scheduled to open later in 2005 is the Silver Slipper, an $80 million project that will feature the only riverboat casino on the Gulf Coast.

A number of large-scale construction projects outside the realm of the gaming industry were underway in Biloxi in the mid-2000s. Voters in 2004 approved a $68 million expansion of the Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center that will be completed in 2007. The Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport was undergoing a series of expansion projects to increase its physical size, thereby increasing the number of airlines and passengers it can handle. Among projects in the amusement industry were a new $29 million Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, expected to open in phases until its completion in 2007; the Gulf Islands Water Park, which will open in Gulfport in spring 2005; and a $35 million NASA space attraction that is scheduled to open in 2007.

Economic Development Information: Mississippi Development Authority, 501 N. West St., PO Box 849, Jackson, MS 39205; telephone (601)359-3449; fax (601)359-2832. Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau, PO Box 6128, Gulfport, MS 39506-6128, telephone (228)896-6699; toll-free (800)237-9493; email tourism@gulfcoast.org.

Commercial Shipping

Biloxi is located within one day's drive of more than half of the country's population and is within an hour from the major cities of New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mobile, Alabama. The Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport is the site of Foreign Trade Zone #92, a 1,000-acre area where foreign goods bound for international destinations can be temporarily stored without incurring an import duty. Cargo railroads serving Biloxi include CSX Corp. and Kansas City Southern Rail Line. The Mississippi State Port, located at nearby Gulfport, is the second largest handler of tropical fruit in North America and the nation's top exporter of frozen poultry to Russia and other former Soviet countries. In 2002 this port handled more than 2.1 million tons of cargo, including bananas and other fresh fruits, ores and other bulk cargo, frozen cargo, lumber and wood products, and containerized general cargo. Nine industrial parks on the Gulf Coast offer prime waterfront industrial sites on navigable water. Worldwide overnight and local shipping capability is provided by express, courier, and parcel companies that serve the coast region.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

The success of gaming in Biloxi is responsible for the creation of many new jobs in the area. Some, like those in the hospitality and tourism industries, are directly linked to gaming; others, like those in the construction, medical services, and general retail industries are indirect offshoots of an economy driven by casinos. In 2003 the Biloxi-Gulfport-Pascagoula metropolitan area ranked 127th among the "Best Places for Business and Careers" by Forbes magazine.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Biloxi metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 113,500

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 5,200

manufacturing: 6,000

trade, transportation and utilities: 20,400

leisure and hospitality: 29,600

government: 24,000

Average hourly wage of production workers employed in manufacturing: $12.88 (2003 statewide annual average)

Unemployment rate: 4.0% (December 2004)

Largest employers Number of employees
Keesler Air Force Base 15,674
Grand Casino/Park Place Entertainment 5,460
Beau Rivage 4,150
President Casino 1,991
VA Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System 1,500
Imperial Palace 1,500
Casino Magic Corp. 1,360
Treasure Bay Casino 1,200
Isle of Capri Casino 1,077
Boomtown Casino 1,000

Cost of Living

According to the City of Biloxi, the Gulf Coast's cost of living was 5.6 percent below the national average in 2003.

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors for the Biloxi area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $188,335

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 96.2 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: Ranges from 3.0% to 5.0%

State sales tax rate: 7.0%

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: None

Property tax rate: 30 mills (2002)

Economic Information: Mississippi Development Authority, 501 N. West St., PO Box 849, Jackson, MS 39205; telephone (601)359-3449; fax (601) 359-2832

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Biloxi: Recreation

Biloxi: Recreation

Sightseeing

Biloxi's bygone eras are captured in a number of historical structures. Visitors to Beauvoir, the last home of Jefferson Davis, only president of the Confederacy, can see where he lived, worked, and entertained the notables of his day. The house is set on a 52-acre estate containing museums with Confederate artifacts, two pavilions, and a cemetery with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. French and American architectural styles of the nineteenth century are exhibited in the Old Brick House, overlooking Back Bay. The restored TullisToledano Manor, built in 1856, is one of the area's finest examples of the antebellum style. The Pleasant Reed House was named for its builder, who was born into slavery in 1854 and moved to Biloxi after the Civil War. The Redding House is a Colonial Revival home that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Biloxi Lighthouse, erected in 1848, has been welcoming sailors since the days of the sailing schooners, and provides a wonderful view of the Gulf Coast area. The Spanish Captains Quarters and the Old French House, reflecting two distinct architectural styles and cultures that were once powerful in the area, date to the early 1700s; the Old French House is now a restaurant. Visitors to the Old Biloxi Cemetery can read the gravestones of the first French settlers. Fort Massachusetts, on the western tip of Ship Island, was inhabited by the Confederate Army and later recaptured by Union Troops who used it for a prison. On the grounds are a library, a summer cottage, and a Confederate cemetery; tours are offered during the spring, summer, and fall.

Nine casinos are located in Biloxi, with three others elsewhere along the Mississippi Gulf. They are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and offer Las Vegas-style gaming, entertainment, hotel rooms, and retail shops, as well as other amenities. The Biloxi casinos are Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Boomtown Casino, Casino MagicBiloxi, Grand CasinoBiloxi, Imperial Palace Hotel & Casino, Isle of Capri Casino Resort, Palace Casino Resort, President Casino Broadwater Resort, and Treasure Bay Casino Resort. Casino MagicBay St. Louis is located in Bay St. Louis, and Copa Casino and Grand CasinoGulfport are both situated in Gulfport.

Biloxi also provides family entertainment. The J.L. Scott Marine Education Center and Aquarium features 47 aquariums, a 44,000-gallon Gulf of Mexico tank, hands-on exhibits, and a touch tank. Time In Family Fun Center is the largest indoor playground on the Mississippi Gulf, and features putt putt, a two-story soft playground, video games, and food. Public swimming pools and miniature golf courses are also present in the city.

Arts and Culture

Biloxi is home to a diverse collection of museums. The Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum traces Biloxi's 300-year history as the seafood capital of the world. The George E. Ohr Arts and Cultural Center exhibits work by "the Mad Potter of Biloxi," whose pottery was so unique that it is housed in the Smithsonian. The Mardi Gras Museum showcases the splendor of that celebration at the restored antebellum Magnolia Hotel, the oldest hotel structure on the Gulf Coast. Moran's Art Studio displays original works of Joe Moran, George E. Ohr, and Mary and Tommy Moran.

The Saenger Theatre for the Performing Arts is home to the Gulf Coast Opera Theatre, Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra, Gulf Coast Symphony Youth Orchestra, and KNS Theatre, a non-profit community theater. Biloxi Little Theatre, an all-volunteer community theatre, presents four major productions each year, and Center Stage presents a variety of regular performances, children's theater, and workshops.

Festivals and Holidays

The Gulf Coast's variety of festivals, many of them centering on water events, delight both hometown crowds and visitors. Country Cajun Crawfish Festival in April draws thousands who want to share in the delicious Southern fare. May brings the Great Biloxi Schooner Races & Blessing of the Fleet, a celebration of the onset of shrimping season that features a street festival, coronation of the Shrimp King and Queen, and a parade of boats. The Mississippi Arts Fair for the Handicapped is held in June, as is the 11-day Mississippi Coast Coliseum Summer Fair & Music Festival. A variety of Independence Day celebrations enliven the area in July. September is the time for the Biloxi Seafood Festival and the Scottish Games & Celtic Festival, held in Gulfport. The Arts are celebrated at the G. E. Ohr Fall Festival, and spectators line the beaches in autumn to enjoy the Mayor's Regatta. Christmas on the Gulf Coast features Biloxi's Christmas on the Water boat parade, the Lighting of the Fish Net Christmas Tree and parade, and Tullis Manor's Ethnic Christmas Trees.

Vietnamese New Year and the Black Heritage Festival salute local ethnic groups in January, and the area's French heritage is celebrated at Coast History Week with its French Encampment. Queen Ixolib (Biloxi spelled backwards) presides over the festivities at Mardi Gras, which has been celebrated longer in Biloxi than in New Orleans. March brings the St. Patrick's Day Parade, the Irish Heritage Festival, and the Oyster Festival.

Sports for the Spectator

Biloxi has one professional sports team, the Mississippi Sea Wolves, one of 28 teams in the East Coast Hockey League. Up to 9,150 fans can watch their home games at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center, located in Biloxi. The coliseum is also the arena for the Professional Cowboys Championship Finals, held over four days each January.

Sports for the Participant

The city of Biloxi maintains 26 parks encompassing 170 acres, as well as five community centers, 13 baseball and softball fields, four soccer fields, and 13 tennis courts. The Natatorium offers an Olympic-sized indoor-outdoor pool with a retractable top. Biloxi boasts three of the area's 23 public golf courses that attract golfers from all over the country.

The Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo is the world's largest event of its kind. Held on the Fourth of July weekend, the event features a fishing competition open to all ages, as well as carnival rides, live entertainment, and fireworks. The Kingmaster 100 finishing tournament is held each May at the Isle of Capri Crowne Plaza Resort in Biloxi. The Great Biloxi Schooner Races are held in May, and the Race for the Case sailing regatta is held in July. In addition to organized events, boating and fishing enthusiasts can participate in the sports whenever they please. The Mississippi Gulf Coast houses more than 200 varieties of saltwater fish. Fishing and boating trips are available by charter, and the Biloxi Schooners take groups on a sail along the beachfront on two-masted replicas of nineteenth-century oyster schooners.

Shopping and Dining

Edgewater Mall is the largest enclosed mall on the Gulf Coast. Totaling more than one million square feet, the mall is anchored by four major retailers, including Dillard's and J.C. Penney, and is occupied by more than 100 specialty stores. Edgewater Village Shopping Center features more than 40 stores occupying 200,000 square feet of retail space. Nearby, more than 60 retailers offer discounted wares at the Prime Outlets of Gulfport. In all, more than 1,300 retail establishments were operating in Biloxi in 2002, generating $924 million in revenue.

Biloxi's cuisine is an enticing blend of Spanish, French, Cajun, and traditional Southern cuisine. Gumbo, a succulent blend of seafood, okra, celery, scallions, and chopped bell peppers, is the featured item on the menu of Mary Mahoney's Old French House Restaurant. The restaurant, which was built in 1737, was once the site of the headquarters of the Louisiana Territory.

Visitor Information: Biloxi Chamber of Commerce, 1048 Beach Blvd., Biloxi, MS 39530; telephone (228)374-2717; fax (228)374-2764. Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau, PO Box 6128, Gulfport, MS 39506-6128; telephone (228)896-6699; toll-free (800)237-9493; email tourism@gulfcoast.org

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Biloxi: History

Biloxi: History

Many Flags Have Flown over Biloxi

An area across Biloxi Bay from the city, called Old Biloxi, was first visited by French explorer Pierre LeMoyne d'Iberville in 1699. The explorer, who was looking for the mouth of the Mississippi River, was instructed by the King of France to claim the coastal region. D'Iberville sailed into Biloxi Bay with a small group of men and established Fort Maurepas and a similar colony on the east shore, now the site of Ocean Springs. The word Biloxi means "First People" and was the name of a local Native American tribe met by d'Iberville and his men when they explored the land. Since its discovery, eight flags have flown over the city including the French, English, Spanish, West Florida Republic, Mississippi Magnolia, Confederate State, Mississippi State, and that of the United States.

In 1719 Fort Louis was founded on the site of the present-day city, which served as the capital of French colonial Louisiana from 1720 to 1722. In 1783 Biloxi was taken over by the Spanish, who merely collected tariffs, while the area retained its strong French influence. The Spanish maintained their rule until 1810, when a rebellion occurred and the area was seized by American insurgents. At that time, Biloxi became part of the Republic of West Florida. Although petitions for statehood were denied, the Biloxi region became part of the Territory of Orleans (which had been part of the Louisiana Purchase). Two years later, in 1812, Biloxi became part of the Mississippi Territory. In 1814 a British attempt to capture New Orleans failed, but the British remained on nearby Ship Island until 1815. Finally, on December 10, 1817, Mississippi became the twentieth state of the United States.

Biloxi Established as a Resort

During the 1820s Biloxi became a popular summer resort for New Orleanians wishing to escape their city's heat and yellow fever epidemics. Biloxi was incorporated officially in 1838. The city grew as families and their servants flocked to the area, which by 1847 had become the most important of the Gulf Coast's resort towns. By the middle of the nineteenth century even more people came for the ostensible healing powers of the waters, and for the balls, outings, and hunting events that enlivened the social scene.

At the time of the Civil War, Union troops took over nearby Ship Island and carried out a blockade of the gulf. Citizens protected the city from invasion by the Yankees through the threatening appearance of fake cannons, which were really only logs planted in the sand. Mullet fish, called "Biloxi bacon," saved the local populace from starvation in the war years. The first fish cannery opened in 1881, and the city's seafood industry quickly developed. By 1900 Biloxi was termed the "seafood capital of the world." Polish, Austrian, and Acadian French soon came to the city to work in the industry, adding their own cultural influences. Tourism flourished and more hotels were built to accommodate the visitors, many of them from the Midwest, who came to escape the harsh northern winters.

During the early twentieth century, the city grew and new developments included electricity, a street railway system, and telephone service. During the 1920s a paved highway was built along the beach, and more hotels were constructed as tourism increased. In 1928 the world's longest seawall, which spanned 25 miles of Biloxi's coastline, was dedicated. The 1930s saw the decline of the area's seafood industry, but a new boom took place during World War II when Biloxi was chosen to be the site of a new air force base.

Legalized Gambling Revitalizes City

Mid-century saw the construction of a four-lane superhighway and the production of a sand beach, thanks to the use of hydraulic dredges. The development of Edgewater Plaza Shopping Center took place in the early 1960s, and the mall has served to draw people from all over the region ever since. In 1969 Biloxi suffered considerable damage when Hurricane Camille ravaged the entire Gulf Coast area, but the citizens soon rallied and rebuilt their town. A new era began in the city in 1992 with the opening of the first Las Vegas-style gambling casino. The resort casinos with their 24-hour entertainment availability spurred a tremendous growth in both local and tourist populations, and restaurants and other businesses grew accordingly.

Biloxi suffered some damage from Hurricane Georges in 1998 but rallied a year later to celebrate its tricentennial with music fests, sporting events, exhibits, and tours. The city's ninth casino, the Beau Rivage, opened in 1999, further stimulating Biloxi's economy through tourism and gaming revenues.

Historical Information: Harrison County Library System, 1300 21st Ave., Gulfport, MS 39501; telephone (228)868-1383; fax (228)863-7433

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Biloxi: Education and Research

Biloxi: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Biloxi Public School District reorganized its schools in 2002. Upon completion of the new Biloxi High School, the three junior high schools were consolidated. As a result, all seventh grade students attend Michel 7th Grade School and all students in grades eight and nine attend Biloxi Junior High School. The district offers a curriculum ranging from remedial education to college level advanced placement courses, as well as specialized programs in technology or vocational studies. There are four private schools in Biloxi: one high school and three elementary/junior high schools.

The following is a summary of data regarding Biloxi's public schools as of the 20022003 school year.

Total enrollment: 6,200

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 7

junior high/middle schools: 2

senior high schools: 1

Student/teacher ratio: 15:1

Teacher salaries (20042005)

minimum: $33,650

maximum: $62,965

Funding per pupil: $6,415

Public Schools Information: Biloxi Public School District; 160 St. Peters Ave., PO Box 168, Biloxi, MS 39533; telephone (228)374-1810; fax (228)436-5171

Colleges and Universities

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College has two campuses in Gulfport, and also offers classes in Biloxi through the Keesler Center of the Keesler Air Force Base. Also operating out of Keesler Air Force Base is the University of Southern Mississippi-Gulf Coast, which offers a variety of classes for civilians and military personnel. University College, one of 11 colleges of New Orleans-based Tulane University, has a campus in Biloxi that offers associate's and bachelor's degrees. Located in nearby Gulfport are William Carey College and Madison University, both within comfortable commuting range of students from Biloxi.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Biloxi Public Library, part of the Harrison County Library System, consists of a main building and three branches. Its collection exceeded 300,000 items in 2003, an increase of approximately 5,000 items over the prior year. Special collections include genealogy, local history, and Mississippiana. The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, located in Ocean Springs, is a state-funded institution administered by the University of Southern Mississippi. It offers a broad marine science curriculum and collaborates with the local commercial seafood industry to devise efficient methods of harvesting the waters and to develop future ventures, such as aquaculture.

Public Library Information: Harrison County Library System, 1300 21st Ave., Gulfport, MS 39501; telephone (228)868-1383; fax (228)863-7433

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Biloxi: Population Profile

Biloxi: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents

1980: 300,000

1990: 312,368

2000: 363,988

Percent change, 19902000: 16.5%

U.S. rank in 1980: 174th

U.S. rank in 1990: 157th

U.S. rank in 2000: 113th

City Residents

1980: 49,311

1990: 46,319

2000: 50,644

2003 estimate: 48,972

Percent change, 19902000: 9.3%

U.S. rank in 1980: 428th

U.S. rank in 1990: 535th (State rank: 2nd)

U.S. rank in 2000: 707th (State rank: 3rd)

Density: 1,331.8 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 36,177

Black or African American: 9,643

American Indian and Alaska Native: 248

Asian: 2,590

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 58

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 1,848

Other: 725

Percent of residents born in state: 46.2% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Poplation under 5 years old: 3,721

Poplation 5 to 9 years old: 3,634

Poplation 10 to 14 years old: 3,078

Poplation 15 to 19 years old: 4,290

Poplation 20 to 24 years old: 4,779

Poplation 25 to 34 years old: 7,645

Poplation 35 to 44 years old: 7,695

Poplation 45 to 54 years old: 5,822

Poplation 55 to 59 years old: 2,044

Poplation 60 to 64 years old: 1,861

Poplation 65 to 74 years old: 3,390

Poplation 75 to 84 years old: 2,076

Poplation 85 years and older: 609

Median age: 32.5 years

Births (2002)

Total number: 864

Deaths (2002)

Total number: 478 (of which, 6 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $17,809

Median household income: $34,106

Total number of households: 19,606

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 2,348

$10,000 to $14,999: 1,368

$15,000 to $24,999: 3,137

$25,000 to $34,999: 3,196

$35,000 to $49,999: 3,616

$50,000 to $74,999: 3,321

$75,000 to $99,999: 1,473

$100,000 to $149,999: 730

$150,000 to $199,999: 177

$200,000 or more: 240

Percent of families below poverty level: 11.2% (50.7% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 3,852

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Biloxi: Communications

Biloxi: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

The Sun Herald, Biloxi's daily paper, is published every morning. Weeklies include the Biloxi-D'Iberville Press, Gulf Pines Catholic, and the Keesler News, which is produced at Keesler Air Force Base.

Television and Radio

Biloxi has one network affiliate, one cable station, and one public television station. Two FM stationsone commercial and one religiousand three AM stations broadcast from the city.

Media Information: The Sun Herald, Gulf Publishing Company, Inc., PO Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567; telephone (800)222-9502.

Biloxi Online

Biloxi Chamber of Commerce. Available www.biloxi.org

Biloxi Public School District. Available www.biloxischools.net

City of Biloxi Home Page. Available www.biloxi.ms.us

Harrison County Development Commission. Available www.mscoast.org

Harrison County Library System. Available www.harrison.lib.ms.us

Mississippi Development Authority. Available www.mississippi.org

Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau. Available www.gulfcoast.org

Sun Herald. Available www.sunherald.com

Selected Bibliography

The Buildings of Biloxi: An Architectural Survey. (City of Biloxi, 1975)

Husley, Val, Maritime Biloxi (Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2000)

Sullivan, Charles, Mississippi Gulf Coast: Portrait of a People (Northridge, CA: Windsor Publications, 1985)

Note: This profile of the city of Biloxi was updated prior to August 2005, when Hurricane Katrina caused severe damage to the Gulf Coast region of the United States. The long-term impact of Katrina on Biloxi is unknown at the time of publication.

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Biloxi

Biloxi

Biloxi: Introduction
Biloxi: Geography and Climate
Biloxi: History
Biloxi: Population Profile
Biloxi: Municipal Government
Biloxi: Economy
Biloxi: Education and Research
Biloxi: Health Care
Biloxi: Recreation
Biloxi: Convention Facilities
Biloxi: Transportation
Biloxi: Communications

The City in Brief

Note: This profile of the city of Biloxi was updated prior to August 2005, when Hurricane Katrina caused severe damage to the Gulf Coast region of the United States. The long-term impact of Katrina on Biloxi is unknown at the time of publication.

Founded: 1719, incorporated 1981

Head Official: Mayor A. J. Holloway, Jr. (R) (since 1993)

City Population

1990: 46,319

2000: 50,644

2003 estimate: 48,972

Percent change, 19902000: 9.3%

U.S. rank in 1990: 535th (State rank: 2nd)

U.S. rank in 2000: 707th (State rank: 3rd)

Metropolitan Area Population

1990: 312,368

2000: 363,988

Percent change, 19902000: 16.5%

U.S. rank in 1990: 157th

U.S. rank in 2000: 113th

Area: 46.53 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 20 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 68° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 61 inches

Major Economic Sectors: services, casinos, government, and trade

Unemployment rate: 4.0% (December 2004)

Per Capita Income: $17,809 (1999)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 3,852

Major Colleges and Universities: Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, The University of Southern Mississippi-Gulf Coast

Daily Newspaper: Sun Herald

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Biloxi: Health Care

Biloxi: Health Care

Biloxi has two hospitals, while the entire Gulf Coast region has seven general hospitals with more than 2,450 beds. Services at the Biloxi Regional Medical Center, which has 153 beds, include a cardiac intensive care unit, an emergency department, an outpatient care center, HIV services, a medical surgical intensive care unit, a neonatal intensive care unit, oncology services, pediatric intensive care, physical rehabilitation, psychiatric care, and a radiation department. The Gulf Coast Medical Center, with 144 beds, offers a variety of services including outpatient care, geriatric services, a medical-surgical intensive care unit, outpatient surgery, and psychiatric care. The Veterans Affairs Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System consists of two hospital divisionsone of which is located in Biloxiand three outpatient clinics to serve veterans in seven counties in Mississippi, four counties in Alabama, and seven counties in Florida. Keesler Medical Center, the second largest medical treatment facility in the Air Force, treats more than 52,000 active duty and retirees in the area and houses the only genetics laboratory in the U.S. Department of Defense. Cedar Lake Medical Park is privately owned by physicians and offers a variety of medical services.

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Biloxi: Transportation

Biloxi: Transportation

Approaching the City

More than 816,000 passengers moved through GulfportBiloxi International Airport in 2002. By 2006, upon completion of a $25.4 million expansion that will allow more airlines to operate at it, the airport is expected to serve 2.2 million passengers. The airlines serving the facility are AirTran Airways, ASA/Delta, Continental/Continental Express, and Northwest. For those who choose to approach the city by rail, Amtrak's Sunset Limited line provides service to Biloxi and Gulfport, among other cities along the Gulf Coast. Biloxi also has private and public marinas for those who choose to arrive by boat.

Traveling in the City

Seven interstate highways provide access to the Alabama-Mississippi-Louisiana region via Interstate 10, which runs east and west across the northern part of Biloxi. U.S. Highway 90 also runs east and west, but along the beaches of the Gulf. Interstate 110 extends north and south through the city, and Highways 67 and 15 run north toward central Mississippi. Local bus service is provided by the Coast Transit Authority.

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Biloxi

Biloxi (bĬlŭk´sē), city (1990 pop. 46,319), Harrison co., SE Miss., on a peninsula between Biloxi Bay and Mississippi Sound, on the Gulf of Mexico; inc. as a town 1838, as a city 1896. Industries here include fishing and boatbuilding, the packing and shipping of shrimp and oysters, and several small manufactures. Beginning in 1990, casinos made Biloxi, long a beach resort, the center of a gambling boom district (which includes neighboring Gulfport), with thousands of new hotel rooms.

The French established the first European settlement in the lower Mississippi valley in 1699 across the bay at Old Biloxi (now Ocean Springs). New Biloxi, founded in 1719, was the capital of French Louisiana until 1722, when New Orleans replaced it. Hurricane Camille wrecked the city's waterfront in 1969, and Katrina caused even greater devastation in 2005. Keesler Air Force Base and "Beauvoir" (built 1852–54), the last home of Jefferson Davis, are here, as is Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, designed by Frank Gehry. Off the coast are the western islands of Gulf Islands National Seashore, including Ship Island, a Union fort during the Civil War.

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Biloxi: Geography and Climate

Biloxi: Geography and Climate

Biloxi is located on a little peninsula between Biloxi Bay and the Mississippi Sound on the Gulf of Mexico. It is 70 miles northeast of New Orleans, 70 miles southwest of Mobile, and 150 miles west of Jacksonville. The city has a moist semitropical climate, and sunny days with frequent cool breezes predominate. From May through September the hot, humid weather can be uncomfortable at times, and afternoon thundershowers are not uncommon. Winter brings primarily warm, clear weather and occasional cold spells lasting no longer than three or four days. Cyclones occur most often during June through November.

Area: 46.53 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 20 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January 50.8° F, July, 81.7° F, average 68° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 61 inches

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Biloxi: Convention Facilities

Biloxi: Convention Facilities

The Mississippi Gulf Coast offers total convention space in excess of 500,000 square feet and more than 18,000 hotel rooms. The largest beachfront meeting and convention center in the South is the Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center, which has 180,000 square feet of convention space, up to 32 meeting rooms, and a 15,000-seat arena. The majority of Biloxi's nine casinos also provide meeting space, the largest of which is the 54,000 square feet of the Imperial Palace Hotel & Casino.

Convention Information: Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau, PO Box 6128, Gulfport, MS 39506-6128; telephone (228)896-6699; toll-free 800-237-9493; email tourism@gulfcoast.org

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Biloxi: Introduction

Biloxi: Introduction

Biloxi, with its 25 miles of white Gulf Coast beaches, is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Historically a sleepy resort town, originally serving vacationers from Mobile and New Orleans, it is noted for its oyster and shrimp fisheries. The introduction of legalized gambling at offshore casinos has led to the city's renaissance and a booming economy. Biloxi's rich history and cultural attractions have also contributed to its becoming one of the new "hot spots" for Southern tourism.

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Biloxi: Municipal Government

Biloxi: Municipal Government

Biloxi has a strong Mayor-Council form of government, with council members elected by each of seven local districts. The mayor and council members serve four-year terms.

Head Official: Mayor A.J. Holloway, Jr. (R) (since 1993; current term expires 2005)

Total Number of City Employees: 674 (2005)

City Information: City of Biloxi, PO Box 429, Biloxi, MS 39533; telephone (228)435-6254; fax (228)435-6129; email mayor@biloxi.ms.us

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