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Biloxi Bliss

Get to the Mississippi gulf



 

Mississippi has 80 miles more seacoast than Oklahoma – which isn’t saying much, since Oklahoma has no seacoast. But the little stretch the Magnolia State has, they put to good use. Biloxi is the largest city on the Mississippi coast, and for a good part of its history was dependent on the Gulf for its economic base. While the seafood industry and marine services are still a big factor, today the major player in Biloxi is fun. It’s a perfect trifecta: tourism, gaming and some of the world’s best seafood.

Biloxi and environs live up to the soubriquet, “The Resilient Coast.” Its history with severe weather is daunting; if Oklahoma is in Tornado Alley, Biloxi sits in Hurricane Alley. It’s survived many brushes with severe tropical storms, but the most devastating were Camille in 1969 and Katrina in 2005.The entire Mississippi coast – and miles inland – were affected. With 140 mph winds and a 34-foot storm surge during Katrina, 90 percent of the buildings along the coast were destroyed.

It was Biloxi’s gaming industry that came to the city’s rescue. These properties were restored and back open in a matter of months. Today’s visitors see a vibrant community.

 


 

Something’s Fishy

For the highlights of 300 years of Biloxi’s relationship with the Gulf waters, check out the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum. Exhibits cover everything from the fishing and processing industry to shipwrecks, boat building, hurricanes, ecology, yacht racing and art.

The centerpiece of the first floor is the 120-year-old Nydia, a sandbagger sloop that won 22 regattas. My personal favorite exhibit is on the second floor: The 1979 Lapeyre Shrimp Peeling Machine is very close in design to the first machine, invented in the late ’40s when 16-year-old James Lapeyre accidentally stepped on a shrimp and discovered that the shell peeled off. This invention revolutionized the seafood processing industry, peeling 1,000 shrimp an hour – the equivalent of dozens of workers peeling by hand.

The best thing about Mississippi seafood is eating it. Combine elegant dining with history at Mary Mahoney’s Old French House, in an 1844-54 structure that’s one of the oldest documented buildings in Biloxi. As for the food, John Grisham wrote about Mary Mahoney’s seafood gumbo in two of his books, and on “Good Morning America,” Robin Roberts said it was her favorite Super Bowl food. That year the restaurant sent enough gumbo to the show for the entire cast and crew. The comment came back, “The gumbo arrived here, but it sure didn’t leave!”

For a more casual outing, try the Fillin’ Station. Although you’ll have other options, the seafood selection is impressive. Have a po-boy or seafood platter or go wild with their Oak Street Bread – a full loaf of French bread smothered with shrimp, bacon, cheese and Ponchartrain sauce. And yes, it was once a 1927 Shell gas station.

 


 

Shopping, Sleeping and Schlepping

The Beau Rivage Resort and Casino fills a lot of bills. It’s big and beautiful – filled with massive floral displays – and the rooms are great. The resort’s premier restaurants, BR Prime, Jia and Stalla, offer American, Japanese and Italian specialties with both BR Prime and Jia receiving AAA Four Diamond ratings. Several other spots provide additional variety.

Resort shops carry everything from snacks to slacks. Fashion and fine jewelry are available, as are logo apparel, home décor, cosmetics, toys and books. For souvenirs, including alligator heads and pirates made from coconuts, schlep to Sharkheads on Biloxi Beach. You can’t miss it – look for the shark head.

Gaming is a main attraction, with over 1,800 slot machines, table games, a poker room and a high-stakes lounge for the big spenders, plus smoke-free areas. But gambling isn’t the only game in this town. Beau Rivage’s Fallen Oak Golf Course was designed by Tom Fazio, and the MGM Park downtown stadium and entertainment complex is home to the AA affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, the Biloxi Shuckers.

MGM Park is also the site of concerts and festivals, and the Beau Rivage Theatre hosts headline acts and up-and-coming talent. Right next door to the Beau Rivage is the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, where you’ll find more games, more entertainment and displays of costumes and accessories from top music celebrities.

 


 

Out and About

Water’s why I go to Biloxi, so any trip will include fishing. I can recommend Capt. Kenny Barhanovich and his boat, Miss Hospitality. He’s not only a great fish finder, he’s a delightful host. When asked “What we’re fishing for?” his answer is, “Anything that’s biting!” It could be snapper, bonito, jack, shark or mackerel. Whatever it is, you’ll have a good time.

Exploring the coast to the west, visit the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport. Their mission includes rescue and rehabilitation of marine animals and education. Display tanks and touch pools include a number of sea creatures, but the big draws are the dolphins. Most visitors just watch demonstrations from the sidelines but here you can actually get into the water, too. It’s pricey but well-supervised, so that the dolphins (these are animals which cannot be released into the wild) are not stressed.

Oh, and don’t be put off by the name Blow Fly Inn in Gulfport. This little eatery has a big reputation and has been featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

To the east, Ocean Springs is one of my all-time favorite little towns. Live oaks arch over streets lined with interesting shops. Art is everywhere – from paintings by local artists to creations from the legendary Shearwater Pottery. Learn the history of the amazing Anderson family of artists, and admire and wonder at the work of Walter Anderson, eccentric artist extraordinaire, in the Walter Anderson Museum.

Eat your way through town with Tasty Tours of South Mississippi. Their three-hour walking tours provide plenty of samples of local cuisine and a side helping of history.

As you drive along the coastal highway, look for tree sculptures. These works of art were created out of trees killed by Katrina’s salty surge.

Past storms may have knocked Mississippi’s coastal communities down, but they have punched back. This 80-mile stretch is in business, and that business will be your pleasure.                      

 

 

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Calendar

May 2019

"Sandy Magrath: Dogs of the Southwest" art exhibit will be open May 1 - June 30, 2019, at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK. A meet the artist reception will be 3:30 -...

Cost: $6 adults

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
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Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Stacy Moore
Website »

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Start your Sunday morning by perfecting your practice during our outdoor yoga class. Enjoy the beauty of yoga outdoors in the glow of the Ferris Wheel lights! This class welcomes all levels, from...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wheeler Ferris Wheel
1701 S. Western Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73109
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James Bailey from Missoula, Montana, is ARTSPACE at Untitled's visiting Artist in Residence; his exhibition, Map-ify, is on view May 9th through July 6th.  "My work examines...

Cost: Free

Where:
ARTSPACE at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
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Telephone: 405.815.9995
Website »

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MILLER IN MAY HOME TOUR HIGHLIGHTS CHARACTER AND CHARM The 20th anniversary of Miller's beloved home tour Miller Neighborhood's most popular event is back for 2019… and...

Cost: $10 - $30

Where:
Miller Neighborhood
NW 10th to NW 16th, N Villa to N May
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
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Sponsor: Miller Neighborhood Association
Telephone: 405.642.5982
Contact Name: Elizabeth Beard

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Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the...

Cost: Adult: $20 Seniors and Children: $15

Where:
Regatta Park Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73119
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Sponsor: Oklahoma River Cruises
Telephone: 405-702-7755
Contact Name: Che Loessberg
Website »

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OKC's premier chamber orchestra, the Oklahoma Virtuosi, presents their season finale concert.  Concert will include: St. Paul's Suite Op.29 No.2 by Gustav Holst,...

Cost: Free

Where:
21C Hotel
900 W. Main St.
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
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Website »

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As the first anniversary of her sixth album Conversation With A Ghost approaches in June, Italian-born and Austin-based singer-songwriter Giulia Millanta possesses a...

Cost: $15-$20

Where:
The Blue Door
2805 N. McKinley Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
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Sponsor: The Blue Door
Telephone: (405) 524-0738
Website »

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James Bailey from Missoula, Montana, is ARTSPACE at Untitled's visiting Artist in Residence; his exhibition, Map-ify, is on view May 9th through July 6th.  "My work examines...

Cost: Free

Where:
ARTSPACE at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405.815.9995
Website »

More information

"Sandy Magrath: Dogs of the Southwest" art exhibit will be open May 1 - June 30, 2019, at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK. A meet the artist reception will be 3:30 -...

Cost: $6 adults

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Stacy Moore
Website »

More information

Piedmont Airlines will be hosting a Information Session for ramp agent jobs at Embassy Suites in OKC. Please plan to spend up to 3 hours with us, as we will have you fill out applications, listen...

Cost: Free

Where:
Embassy Suites
1815 South Meridian Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73108
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Sponsor: Piedmont Airlines
Telephone: 704-359-2477
Contact Name: Nick Calo
Website »

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James Bailey from Missoula, Montana, is ARTSPACE at Untitled's visiting Artist in Residence; his exhibition, Map-ify, is on view May 9th through July 6th.  "My work examines...

Cost: Free

Where:
ARTSPACE at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405.815.9995
Website »

More information

"Sandy Magrath: Dogs of the Southwest" art exhibit will be open May 1 - June 30, 2019, at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK. A meet the artist reception will be 3:30 -...

Cost: $6 adults

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Stacy Moore
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

"Sandy Magrath: Dogs of the Southwest" art exhibit will be open May 1 - June 30, 2019, at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK. A meet the artist reception will be 3:30 -...

Cost: $6 adults

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Stacy Moore
Website »

More information

James Bailey from Missoula, Montana, is ARTSPACE at Untitled's visiting Artist in Residence; his exhibition, Map-ify, is on view May 9th through July 6th.  "My work examines...

Cost: Free

Where:
ARTSPACE at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405.815.9995
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

James Bailey from Missoula, Montana, is ARTSPACE at Untitled's visiting Artist in Residence; his exhibition, Map-ify, is on view May 9th through July 6th.  "My work examines...

Cost: Free

Where:
ARTSPACE at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405.815.9995
Website »

More information

"Sandy Magrath: Dogs of the Southwest" art exhibit will be open May 1 - June 30, 2019, at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK. A meet the artist reception will be 3:30 -...

Cost: $6 adults

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Stacy Moore
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

James Bailey from Missoula, Montana, is ARTSPACE at Untitled's visiting Artist in Residence; his exhibition, Map-ify, is on view May 9th through July 6th.  "My work examines...

Cost: Free

Where:
ARTSPACE at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405.815.9995
Website »

More information

A nationally touring exhibit “Bison: Ancient. Massive. Wild.” will open May 24 at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK. This exhibit explores the significance of...

Cost: $4 - $6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

"Sandy Magrath: Dogs of the Southwest" art exhibit will be open May 1 - June 30, 2019, at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK. A meet the artist reception will be 3:30 -...

Cost: $6 adults

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Stacy Moore
Website »

More information

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More than 90 visual artists will line the streets of the Historic Paseo Arts District, selling original artwork in a wide variety of media, from painting and photography to wood and jewelry, and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Paseo Arts District
3022 Paseo
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
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Sponsor: Paseo Arts Association
Telephone: 405-525-2688
Contact Name: Paige Powell
Website »

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Enjoy all your favorite activities at the Orr Family Farm for a special price! Admission is only $8 per person on this day only.

Where:
Orr Family Farm
14400 S. Western Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73170
View map »


Telephone: 405.509.9312
Contact Name: Lauren Daughety

More information

"Sandy Magrath: Dogs of the Southwest" art exhibit will be open May 1 - June 30, 2019, at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK. A meet the artist reception will be 3:30 -...

Cost: $6 adults

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Stacy Moore
Website »

More information

Save $5 on a Dual Park Pass this Memorial Day Weekend! Get a full day of fun at Andy Alligator’s Fun Park and Water Park for only $29.99. A Dual Park Pass includes Unlimited Rides &...

Cost: Save $5 on a Dual Park Pass!

Where:
Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Place
Norman, OK  73072
View map »

More information

James Bailey from Missoula, Montana, is ARTSPACE at Untitled's visiting Artist in Residence; his exhibition, Map-ify, is on view May 9th through July 6th.  "My work examines...

Cost: Free

Where:
ARTSPACE at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405.815.9995
Website »

More information

A nationally touring exhibit “Bison: Ancient. Massive. Wild.” will open May 24 at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK. This exhibit explores the significance of...

Cost: $4 - $6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the...

Cost: Adult: $20 Seniors and Children: $15

Where:
Regatta Park Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73119
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma River Cruises
Telephone: 405-702-7755
Contact Name: Che Loessberg
Website »

More information

America’s largest interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: $59.95

Where:
The Skirvin Hilton
1 Park Ave
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View map »


Sponsor: The Dinner Detective
Telephone: 866.496.0535
Website »

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