‘Katrina +10’ honors 5,000th visitor

The Elys, left, with the Ohr-O'Keefe's Kevin O'Brien

The Elys, left, with the Ohr-O’Keefe’s Kevin O’Brien

Paul and Sylvia Ely, visitors from Norman, Okla., today became the 5,000th visitors to the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art’s “Katrina +10”¬†exhibit.

The Elys were visiting Biloxi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast and decided to stop by to see the multi-media exhibit, which opened 34 days ago at the east Biloxi museum.

“This is so exciting! We never win these things,” the couple said. “We have family who live in Jackson County, and it‚Äôs amazing how the recovery effort of the Mississippi Gulf Coast has transformed the scars into art, such as Marlin Miller‚Äôs trees.¬† I believe the beaches look better now than they did before Katrina!‚ÄĚ

For being the 5,000th visitors, the Elys received matching George Ohr T-shirts, a gift basket full of gifts from the OOMA Gift Shop, and a copy of the commemorative DVD and photo album “Katrina +10.”

The announcement of the 5,000th visitors comes as the Ohr-O’Keefe enjoyed one of the biggest months in its 17-year history.

“The ‘Katrina +10’ exhibition is barely a month old and we see it growing more and more as we move into the summer months,” said Kevin O’Brien, executive director of the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art. “Our Katrina story, the devastating destruction and the inspirational recovery, is off to a great start.”

The exhibition, which opened March 20, features daily multi-media presentations by Mississippi Power, the¬†Sun Herald, WLOX, MDOT and Hands on Mississippi. Additionally, a series of three dozen special events, including lunchtime speakers each Friday and other “Katrina conversations,” focuses on many challenges and success stories witnessed in the ten years since Hurricane Katrina struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

On Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m., a documentary titled “Katrina +10″ makes its world premiere at the Saenger Theater in Biloxi. As a bonus, visitors to the presentation also will see a replay of “the greatest speech ever given by A.J. Holloway,” an address to the U.S. Conference of Mayors a mere six months after Katrina.

“Our motto is ‘you’ve seen the storm, now see the recovery,'” O’Brien said, “and that message is resonating with visitors and local residents alike.”

The “Katrina +10” exhibition at the Ohr-O’Keefe is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is $10, with discounts for students and seniors.

“We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our lodging partners,” O’Brien said. “The leading hoteliers across the Coast are making sure our visitors know about this attraction, and it’s enhancing the quality of their stay. As a result, we are advancing our Katrina story from Aug. 29, 2005 to today, 10 years later.”