Amtrak stop: Be a part of the festive fun

Biloxi’s Amtrak visit on Thursday morning is becoming quite the pep rally, with the Biloxi High pep band, cheerleaders and dance troupe, Biloxi Second Liners Mardi Gras Club, the Old Biloxi Marching Club, food vendors, and, of course, the Amtrak inspection train, which is scheduled to pull into CTA’s Biloxi Transit Center at 11:21 a.m.

A host of food vendors – Desporte‚Äôs and Sons Seafood (boiled crawfish), Sal & Mookies (slices of pizza), Ole Biloxi Fillin’ Station (grilled oysters) and Le Caf√© Beignet (bread pudding and beignets) – will be on hand selling food from 10:45 a.m. until 1 p.m. at tables and chairs set up at a¬†food court outside the transit center.

Additionally, when the Amtrak and state leaders step off the train, they will be greeted by the Second Liners and Young Matrons carnival groups and representatives of the Ole Biloxi Marching Club. The Mardi Gras entourage will lead dignitaries to a stage that will be erected in the middle of Esters Boulevard, north of the transit center. Those on the 10-car train will step off at Reynoir Street.

The event is being called “The Biloxi Whistle Stop” and is being coordinated by the city, Main Street Biloxi, Coast Transit, and the Biloxi and Biloxi Bay Chambers of Commerce.

“We want to see a good crowd for this Amtrak event,” Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich has said in speaking engagements over the past two days. “This is a chance for people to come to the transit center at 10:45 or 10:50, buy an good, inexpensive lunch, and show the leaders of Amtrak and our state that we are definitely interested in seeing daily passenger rail service return.”

Gilich also pointed out that Biloxi is the only stop between New Orleans and Jacksonville, Fla., that features a trackside multi-modal transit center, with convenient short-or long-distance ground transportation, waiting rooms and restrooms.

“We offer the whole package here in Biloxi, but it’s very important that people turnout Thursday morning to greet that train.”

Biloxi Public Schools Superintendent Arthur McMillan also took up Mayor Gilich’s challenge to help Biloxi have a huge pep rally and has arranged for the¬†Biloxi High School pep band, dance troupe and cheerleaders to all be present.

Parking: Parking will be available in the public lots on MLK, near the Saenger and on the east side of the transit center, and alongside the CSX railway platform.

Closed streets: The Biloxi Police will close Esters Boulevard from Reynoir to Delauney streets beginning at 8 a.m., as well as the Reynoir approaches to the CSX railway.

Official times: The advertised time for the Biloxi Whistle Stop is from 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. The train is scheduled to offload dignitaries at Reynoir Street at 11:21 a.m., and they will have 10 minutes at the stop before reboarding for the next stop, Pascagoula.
See the Biloxi Whistle Stop flyer


State of the City news and notes

Observations and follow-up news from Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich’s inaugural address on Tuesday:

All ‘FoFo’ all the time: Beginning at 1 p.m. today Cable One in Biloxi began a 48-hour marathon replay of Mayor Gilich’s complete State of the City presentation. The 45-minute cablecast, which begins at the top of every hour, can be viewed on Cable Channel 16 for those without digital boxes and on Channel 69 for those with cable boxes.

‘FoFo’ online: The State of the City section on the city’s website has links to the complete video of the presentation, photos from the luncheon and complete text of the mayor’s remarks. To see the State of the City coverage, click here.

The emotion: Mayor Gilich is making no apologies for choking back tears at more than one point in his opening remarks at his inaugural State of the City address. “I’m emotional about this job,” the mayor declared this morning. “It affects my family, and Biloxi is my family. I wanted people to know how lucky I felt to have been born and raised in Biloxi, and how thrilled I am to be mayor of Biloxi.”

The music man: Andrew “FoFo” Gilich played keyboards in a band (the Chantels) during his high school years, jammed with a band at his election victory party, and made sure music was a part of his State of the City presentation. Gilich approached the stage to the Saints game day anthem “Stand Up and Get Kronk”; and he quoted lyrics from Fleetwood Mac’s forward-looking “Don’t Stop” and the 1972 Johnny Nash classic “I Can See Clearly Now,” which blared to the audience at the conclusion of the address.

Hizzoners: A trio of former Biloxi mayors were in the audience at the State of the City address: A.J. Holloway, who served from 1993 to 2015 and was referenced more than once in Gilich’s address; Gilich staffer Gerald Blessey, who served from 1981 to 1989; and Daniel D. “Danny” Guice, a regular at city functions, who served from 1961 to 1973.

The future: Two high school seniors played key roles in the State of the City luncheon. St. Patrick’s High School student and Student Advisory Board member Blair Doyle led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Biloxi High School student and Student Advisory Recording Secretary Abigail Lawson introduced the Mayor Gilich.

The Gilich doctrine, so to speak: Mayor Gilich, a fan of the edict “less is more,” has a message for those attending future States of the City: Tuesday’s 31-minute opus, bookended by 10 minutes of podium remarks was an anomaly. Future SOTC presentations will be no more than 20 minutes.