Bellande cited as Preservationist of Year

Longtime historian Ray Bellande, who has created an online resource about local history that is invaluable to researchers around the world, has been named the city’s Preservationist of the Year.

Bellande’s recognition was one of a dozen awards presented this evening as part of the city’s monthlong Preservation in May series. The presentations were made during a ceremony at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, which itself won an award for its huge “Katrina +10” exhibition last year.

Biloxi Historical Administrator Bill Raymond said Bellande recognized that researchers today need accurate and easy-to-find information, and, as a result, he created the Biloxi Historical Society free web site,, which will be re-launching in several days after being reconstructed.

Said Raymond: “This site, and its new rendition on the way, serves an encyclopedia of knowledge  that is accessible by anyone worldwide and is amply resourced with bibliographies and photographs.  There is no other comprehensive electronic resources of Biloxi history available anywhere.”

Others recognized during the ceremony:

Perseverance in Preservation Award: Joyce Kotulski, for efforts in successfully restoring one of the oldest homes in Biloxi, the Labuzon-Stirling House, on Morrison Avenue. The home dates back to 1855.

Outstanding Residential Restoration Project: Jennifer Boles, restoration of the 1904-era home at 123 Benachi Ave.

Outstanding Public Restoration Project: Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, for Memorial Garden Project on Porter Avenue, immediately west of the Biloxi Visitors Center. The location, known as the Moran Site, represents the oldest French colonial cemetery in the south and holds an important part of Biloxi’s history on Porter Avenue.

Outstanding Commercial Restoration Project: Biloxi Knights of Columbus #1244, for renovation and restoration of the group’s building at 717 Water St.

Outstanding Adaptive Re-use Project: Orocon Construction, for renovation of the 1960s Mid-Century Modern style building at 325 Reynoir St.

Outstanding In-Fill Project in a Historic District: Sal & Mookies, 110 Lameuse St., owners Bruce and Rebecca Lacy were recognized for creating a classic mixture of materials including lap siding brick, exposed rafters, an elevated covered porch, and what come may consider a residential color palette.

Vision for Preservation Award: Marsha and Mike Schmitt. Since moving to Biloxi in 2013, the duo has renovated or restored seven homes in Biloxi’s downtown residential neighborhoods (207 Santini St.; 238 Querens; 235 Ethel Court; 126 Seal Ave.; 130 Seal Ave.; 1007 Howard Ave. and 307 Seal Ave.) and are currently part of the team renovating 647 Howard Ave. for a restaurant.

Advocate of Preservation Award: Gulf Coast Design Studio, a group whose work began after Hurricane Katrina to help displaced residents into housing, but whose role has grown to provide professional assistance, leadership, and expand design education.

Outstanding Preservation Volunteer: Joe Boney, for his efforts to help establish and continue to have a significant role in the continued success of the city’s all-volunteer museum, West End Hose Company No. 3 Fire Museum and Education Center.

Outstanding City Employee Award: Laurie Quave Rosetti, the city’s Downtown Services Assistant was recognized for her role in the annual Preservation in May series, the Biloxi Cemtery tours and the annual Blessing of the Fleet and Shrimp Festival.

Leadership in Preservation:  Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, for the “Katrina +10” exhibition. The exhibit was recognized for its role in telling the Katrina experience of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, from the harrowing days after the storm to the inspirational rebuilding efforts that continue today.
See photographs from the ceremony this evening


News and notes

Farmers Market fest: Dozens gathered this morning for the first Farmers Market Festival of the season. Live music, cake decorating demonstrations, food, vendor booths and more were enjoyed under the I-110 overpass off Howard Avenue. To see photos, click here.

Traffic watch: To see the latest on road work throughout the city, with links to MDOT traffic cameras, click here.

Crime watch: The Biloxi Police Department provides a wealth of crime mapping data online, with a goal of keeping you updated on events and trends in your neighborhood or throughout the city. In fact, you can even set crime alerts for areas near your home or business. To find out more about CrimeMapping, click here.