First Lady recognizes Biloxi for preservation efforts

Preserve America Logo

The City of Biloxi in a Capitol Hill ceremony today was designated by First Lady Laura Bush as one of 20 Preserve America communities in the country for the city’s ongoing preservation initiatives.

Preserve America is a White House initiative to encourage and support community efforts for the preservation and enjoyment of cultural and natural heritage. The program recognizes communities that help strengthen regional identities and local pride, and increase local participation in preservation efforts.

Biloxi’s award was based on several projects and programs: the restoration of the Saenger Theater and several other city-owned historic properties, maintaining an updated records of historic sites, supporting local museums, sponsoring annual preservation awards, and having land-use ordinances that encourage protection of historic structures.

“We’ve spent a great deal of time and money restoring historic properties and supporting our local museums,” Mayor A.J. Holloway said. “We do it for several reasons: In light of the growth we’ve seen, we must protect and preserve the significant properties that are so much a part of our history. The landmarks and museums tell people who we are. These properties are used and enjoyed by our local residents, and, just as importantly, they attract a growing segment of visitors who are interested in heritage tourism.”

Biloxi Historical Administrator Lolly Barnes, who wrote the winning nomination, said the award should be a source of pride for all Biloxians.

“This award is about the whole community,” Barnes said. “Biloxi has a wealth of wonderful architecture and historic neighborhoods, and this is recognition of the hard work of many homeowners and businessowners who have restored and maintained these treasures.”

In all, four Mississippi cities were among the 20 Preserve America communities announced today. Others were Pascagoula, Hattiesburg and Port Gibson. The 20 U.S. communities named today join eight others that have received the designation since the Preserve America program was launched in March 2003.

To read Biloxi’s winning nomination, which outlines the city’s major preservation initiatives, click here.