Parking reminder for this afternoon; spill news and notes

City historical administrator Bill Raymond reminds those attending the re-dedication of the White House fountain this afternoon that parking is available a block away at the Biloxi Elks Lodge.

Biloxi Police will be on hand to help pedestrians to the center median of U.S. 90, where a 5:30 ceremony will be held to officially re-dedicate and re-start the landmark fountain, which was originally constructed in 1926 and refurbished several times through the decades.

The restoration work, which was designed by Dale and Associates and done by J.O. Collins Contracting of Biloxi, included restoring the fountain to its pre-Katrina condition.

According to a news story published in the Daily Herald in Biloxi on July 19, 1926, Walter White, who owned the White House Hotel, “was on a trip north some time ago at the General Electric plant in Lynn, Mass.” where he viewed a fountain and was “so taken with the beauty secured plans for the installation of the one in Biloxi.”

The central portion of the Biloxi fountain is 13 feet in diameter and is surrounded by a 1 to 2-foot deep pool that covers 62 feet. The fountain, according to the news story, was driven by a pump that could spray three streams of water as high as 40 feet. The fountain also featured eighteen lights, which would illuminate the streams of water.

The ceremony will kick off the city’s month-long “Passport to History,” a menu of weekly events designed to highlight and promote Biloxi’s culture and sense of place.

“Those attending today can receive a couple of gifts,” Raymond said. “First, there’s a copy of newspaper articles about the fountain from 1926 when it was first dedicated, and we’ll have passports that will be stamped each week, with a special surprise gift for each person at the grand finale.”

To see photographs of the White House fountain refurbishment, click here.

To see pre-Katrina video of the fountain, courtesy of WLOX and YouTube, click here.

For background on the city’s historic preservation month, click here.

Spill news and notes

Cabinet visit: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will be in Biloxi this morning for a discussion of the BP Deepwater Horizon response efforts. The briefing for state and local leaders will be at Keesler Air Force Base.

More training: BP moves its Vessels of Oppportunity training to Bay St. Louis today. Fishermen are boat owners interested in attending can learn more by
clicking here.

Booming: Biloxi Emergency Manager Linda Atterberry reports that city engineering staff and Port Division leaders on Wednesday finalized a plan to add protective booms to the city’s public marinas and harbors. The plan now goes to the Coast Guard as part of the approval process. The city initially requested booming from the Department of Homeland Security last week.

Impact: The city’s emergency managers also are gathering data to gauge the economic impact of the spill and continuing leak, including the financial impact of canceled fishing tournaments, chartered fishing trips and similar interruptions. Those with input, should email their contact information to Linda Atterberry at

Animated spill: A new animated graphic shows the path of the oil spill since April 22 — two days after the Deepwater Horizon explosion — and projects the path through today. To see the graphic, courtesy of The Times Picayune,
click here.

New mini-site: The city’s web site now has a section devoted to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and continuing leak. To see the clearinghouse of phone numbers and relevant links, which will be fine tuned and updated regularly,
click here.