Biloxi, Mississippi

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"Biloxi" redirects here. For other uses, see Biloxi (disambiguation).
Biloxi and Mississippi coast
Biloxi and Mississippi coast

Biloxi is a city located in Harrison County, Mississippi. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 50,644. The city was severely damaged on August 29, 2005 by Hurricane Katrina when it was hit by a 30 foot (9 m) storm surge. Located in the center of what fisheries biologists term "The Fertile Fisheries Crescent", Biloxi offered some of the finest sportsfishing to be found along the entire northern Gulf of Mexico. Spotted seatrout, red drum, Spanish and king mackerel, flounder, snapper, grouper, sharks and more are all available to anglers during the fishing season. It is not known at this time what impact Hurricane Katrina has had upon this biosystem.

Keesler Air Force Base is located within Biloxi. The base is home of the 81st Training Wing of the U.S. Air Force.

With the introduction of gambling in Mississippi in the 1990s, Biloxi became an important center for casinos; the hotels and complexes brought millions of dollars in tourism revenue to the city. The more famous casino complexes were the Beau Rivage casino resort, Casino Magic, Grand Casino, Boomtown Casino, and Imperial Palace. It was considered the leading gambling center in the Southern United States until many casinos were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005.

The city has been home to the Mississippi Sea Wolves, an East Coast Hockey League minor league hockey team.


Colonial Era

The first permanent French settlement in Louisiana was founded at Biloxi in 1699, under the direction of Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville. In 1720, the capital of French Louisiana was moved to Biloxi from Mobile, which had been the capital of Louisiana since 1702. The capital of Louisiana was moved from Biloxi to New Orleans in 1723.

In 1763, France had to cede Louisiana east of the Mississippi, except for New Orleans, to Great Britain. At that same time, France ceded Louisiana west of the Mississippi, including New Orleans, to Spain.


As of the census2 of 2000, there were 50,644 people, 19,588 households, and 12,379 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,331.8/mi² (514.2/km²). There were 22,115 housing units at an average density of 581.6/mi² (224.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.43% White, 19.04% African American, 0.49% Native American, 5.11% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 1.43% from other races, and 2.38% from two or more races. 3.65% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 19,588 households, out of which 31.4% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.8% are non-families. 30.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.6% had someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size is 3.02.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.2% under the age of 18, 14.3% from 18 to 24, 30.3% from 25 to 44, 19.2% from 45 to 64, and 12.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 101.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,106, and the median income for a family was $40,685. Males had a median income of $28,046 versus $21,267 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,809. 14.6% of the population and 11.2% of families lived below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 19.6% of those under the age of 18 and 11.7% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Biloxi is served by Gulfport, Mississippi's Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport.

Hurricane Katrina

Main articles: Hurricane Katrina, Effect of Hurricane Katrina on Mississippi
U.S. Air Force cargo planes unload several tons of supplies at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi.
U.S. Air Force cargo planes unload several tons of supplies at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi.

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit Biloxi, Mississippi with high winds, heavy winds and a 30-foot storm surge, causing massive damage to the city and surrounding area. Commenting on the power of the storm and the damage, Mayor A.J. Holloway said, "This is our tsunami" [1]. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour was quoted as saying the destruction of the Mississippi coastline by Hurricane Katrina looked like an American Hiroshima.

On the morning of August 31, 2005, in an interview on MSNBC, Governor Haley Barbour stated that 90% of the buildings along the coast in Biloxi and neighboring Gulfport had been destroyed by the hurricane. Several of the "floating" casinos were torn off their supports and thrown inland, contributing to the damage. All coastal churches were destroyed or severely damaged.

On September 24, 2005, it was reported that the death toll from Hurricane Katrina in Harrison County had reached 86. [2]

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