New song ‘I Wanna Come Home’ to debut during Katrina ceremony

Coast performer Ronny Broussard, who has volunteered his time to sing the National Anthem at city functions and for Special Olympics gatherings, will debut a new song, “I Wanna Come Home,” during the city’s Katrina Memorial Observance on Monday morning, the sixth anniversary of the storm.

The ceremony will begin at 8 a.m. at the Katrina memorial on the Biloxi Town Green.

Among those scheduled to participate in the affair, which is expected to run about 35 minutes, will be the Most. Rev. Roger Morin, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi; the Rev. Eric Dickey of First Missionary Baptist Church of Biloxi; and Ashley Austin, associate pastor of First Baptist Church of Biloxi.

Broussard, well-known in Coast community theater circles, will perform the National Anthem at the outset of the program, and “I Wanna Come Home” at the close of the ceremony.

He said he was moved to write the song when driving home from the city’s Katrina observance last year. “The idea came to me, and I was coming up with words all the way home,” he said. “I wrote that song in absolutely no time.”

The effort, he said, describes the improbable love affair that people have with Biloxi. “My whole life, especially when I was a teen-ager, I have met people who have moved to Biloxi for Keesler or whatever reason. They didn’t want to be here, they didn’t like it here, and in a couple of weeks, they just start to feel it. They start to feel what Biloxi is.

“There’s a beat to Biloxi, a rhythm, and once it gets into you, it’s got you. It gets into your heart. People who leave here always move back. They leave here to go to other places, but they end up coming back.”

Four high school students — Kaitlyn Greer and Jesus Diaz of Biloxi High School, and Paige Lyons and Patrick Kirby of St. Patrick – will read the names of the 52 Biloxi victims of Katrina, and Deputy Chief and Chaplain John Jennings of the Biloxi Fire Department, will provide a closing prayer for the ceremony.

The progress: Progress at the six-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is one of the topics on this week’s City Desk program. To listen to the 17-minute webcast, taped Thursday at City Hall, click here.

The growth: To see the compilation of $834 million in construction that’s taken place in Biloxi since Katrina, click here.

The documentary: Cable One will air the city’s award-winning documentary “Biloxi & Katrina” on Monday at 10:30 a.m., 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on all Cable One systems on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The 50-minute opus will be presented as a public service — without commercial interruption — on Cable 13, except in Diamondhead, where it will be shown on Cable 90. To see the correct version of a “Biloxi & Katrina” postcard that was sent to Biloxi residents this week, click here.

Shannon hopes for large turnout for first home game

Biloxi has its home opener this evening, and the powerful influence of a football stadium full of cheering fans is not lost on head football coach John Shannon.

“For our kids it’s very important,” said Shannon, in his second year as Biloxi’s head football coach. “This is our first home game. The support that these kids will have when they come out of that locker room and walk onto the field, when they see that sea of red, it makes them play at a higher level.

“We’re looking forward to a lot of fans coming out and supporting us tonight.”

And St. Stanislaus, the Catholic day and residency school in Bay St. Louis, will be a worthy opponent, Shannon said. “They have a good quarterback and a couple of good receivers. They recruit over there. They have a few good players out of Louisiana. We’re expecting a very tough game tonight.” Kickoff is at 7:30.

Elsewhere this weekend: For a look at this weekend’s entertainment lineup — Mickey Gilley, Ted Nugent, Great White, Jo Dee Messina, and more — click here.

News and notes

Keesler’s 70th birthday: Keesler Air Force Base, long a bedrock of the Biloxi community, observed its 70th anniversary this week. To read a history of the base, courtesy of the Keesler Public Affairs office, click here.

Budget talk: The Biloxi City Council will hold another public discussion of the city’s proposed spending plan for 2012 on Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Biloxi City Hall.

Awards: Among the construction contracts awarded during the past couple of weeks by the city were: restoration of the Popp’s Ferry Causeway Park ($711,049, Talley Contracting); repairs to Lighthouse fishing docks on Back Bay ($2.38 million, K.R. Borries Construction); installation of an elevator at the Magnolia Hotel ($139,700, J.O. Collins Contracting); renovation of the Slay House in the Rue Magnolia ($253,000, David Rush Construction), repairs to streets in the Bent Oaks subdivision ($106,809, Delta Construction).