Point Cadet pier makes waves at ribbon-cutting

The three dozen or so people who turned out for today’s lunchtime ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Point Cadet fishing pier witnessed news being made:

— Rick Ferguson of Pickering, the engineering firm that designed the 4,700-foot long concrete pier, said the structure is the longest as-built drive-on fishing pier in the country. Others may be longer, Ferguson said, but they were once bridges. This pier was constructed to be a drive-on pier.

— Mayor A.J. Holloway announced that he would ask the Biloxi City Council to rename the pier in honor of Corky Hire, a Cedar Street native who has spent his life working in the seafood industry and was a fixture at the old Point Cadet fishing bridge before it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Holloway surprised Hire and the audience when he made the announcement. In fact, Hire, who will turn 92 in October, asked Holloway to repeat the announcement because, he said, “I’m old and hard of hearing.”

“Good Lord, mercy,” Hire said later. “I went right up to his face and asked him to repeat it. When I heard it, I liked to fell through the concrete.”

Hire, who ruled as Shrimp King in 2008, said he plans to visit the fishing pier – a couple blocks away from his two-bedroom Katrina cottage on Cedar Street — at least twice a day.

Also at the ceremony today were Dick Wilson, who once operated Wilson’s Fish Camp at the foot of the bridge; “Father Greg” Barras of nearby St. Michael Catholic Church, who doused the bridge with holy water; and representatives of FEMA and MEMA, agencies that provided the $9 million in funding to remove the remnants of the destroyed fishing bridges at Point Cadet and Back Bay, and construct the new Point Cadet pier.

Photos: To see photos from today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, including an image of Nicolas “Corky” Hire face-to-face with Mayor A.J. Holloway, click here.