Katrina opens and closes the day Saturday at MGM Park

Former Gov. Haley Barbour, who marshaled state and federal aid for the Coast’s sustained recovery from Katrina, will headline the city’s 10th annual Katrina Memorial Observance on Saturday morning at 9 at MGM Park in downtown Biloxi.

The hour-long event is one of several Katrina commemorations taking place in Biloxi. The weekend activities actually kicked off this morning with the unveiling of a high-water marker at the Biloxi Visitors Center, and today at lunchtime former MEMA director Mike Womack will discuss the state’s $24 billion rebuilding effort and lessons learned in the process. Other events include the “Concert for the Coast” featuring headliners Dr. John and Trombone Shorty at MGM Park Saturday night, and Southern District Transportation Commissioner Tom King at the Ohr-O’Keefe Saturday afternoon honoring artists whose work is displayed on the Biloxi Bay Bridge wallking track.

Meantime, for those staying home, Cable One in Biloxi will carry a host of storm-related documentaries throughout the day Saturday on Cable Channel 16.

The Saturday morning memorial program at MGM Park, which will feature clergy members and the Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church Choir, will closely follow the agenda from the city’s first annual Katrina memorial observance, a year after the storm.

In fact, several of the participants – Barbour, Sen. Thad Cochran, the Rev. Dr. Harold Roberts of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, Chaplain John Jennings of the Biloxi Fire Department and Bishop James Black of Faith Tabernacle of Praise – are all reprising roles they had in the 2006 ceremony. (See the Saturday morning schedule.)

Students from Biloxi High School and St. Patrick Catholic High School will read the 170 names of Katrina victims, as displayed on the Katrina memorial. The students involved will be Danielle Lyons and Margaret Lee of Biloxi High School, and Sydney Broussard and J.R. Riojas of St. Patrick.

“We’re expecting the day to be one of reflection and celebration,” Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said. “We also expect it to be a day of thanks, thanking the volunteers who are coming back to check on us, and, quite frankly, thanking God for the many blessings we’ve received and continue to receive.”

The 10th anniversary will end on a festive note, with the “Concert for the Coast” at MGM Park. Local group Rosco Bandana will open the concert, which will be headlined by Dr. John and Trombone Shorty, two New Orleans recording artists. Tickets begin at $25 plus fee and are available at the MGM Park box office or through Ticketmaster.

Meantime, at the Ohr-O’Keefe, the “Katrina +10” exhibit will run be open daily through the end of the day on Labor Day.
See Katrina anniversary weekend highlights


News and notes

Highwater markers: To see photos from this morning’s unveiling of the highwater markers at the Biloxi Visitors Center, click here.

City Council agenda: To see the agenda for the City Council meeting Tuesday, click here.

“FoFo” and Thad: Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich gave Sen. Thad Cochran and friends a sunset cruise of Point Cadet and Back Bay aboard the charter boat Silver Dollar Thursday evneing. To see photos from the excursion, which was personally funded by Gilich, click here.

City Desk: Program moderator William Sackett discusses the intricacies of performing the National Anthem in this week’s City Desk podcast, which offers a firsthand preview of the Katrina +10 events. You’ll also  hear about plans for an upcoming fireman’s ball. To listen to the 12-minute program, click here.

Weekend preview: Yes, there is life beyond Katrina this weekeend. To see the lineup of diversions on tap this weekend, click here.