Visitors Center, Civic Center see booming businesses

Nearly 15,000 people – a mix of visitors and locals – have walked through the doors at the Biloxi Visitors Center since it opened four months ago, and during that time the beachfront facility and the Biloxi Civic Center on Howard Avenue have hosted more than 50 events.

“We’ve been real pleased with the reception to both facilities,” said Mayor A.J. Holloway. “In addition to providing a good introduction to Biloxi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the Visitors Center has hosted meetings and receptions for civic groups, Mardi Gras krewes, business presentations and even a birthday party and baby shower.

“And over at the Civic Center, we’ve had four wedding receptions, two job fairs, a huge class reunion and other special events that have taken advantage of all facets of the facility – inside and out.”

Holloway said the city also has worked to simplify marketing and booking of both facilities by having one person handling both facilities: Amanda B. Williams of Biloxi, formerly an event coordinator for the Audubon Institute in New Orleans.

“Amanda has been meeting with local civic groups, carnival krewes and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau to help make sure everyone is aware of the unique features of each of these facilities,” Holloway said. “We already have four Mardi Gras krewes that will be calling the Biloxi Civic Center their new home, and we have nearly 60 events already on the books for next year.”

Added the mayor: “Once groups see these facilities, and learn about the amenities and the pricing, they sell themselves.”

Interested in booking? Contact Amanda B. Williams via email at or through her office at the Biloxi Visitors Center, (228) 374-3105 or 1-800-BILOXI-3.

About those visitors, Part 1: Its name is Biloxi Visitors Center, but you’ll find a constant stream of local residents wandering through the dozen or so multi-media exhibits at the Biloxi Visitors Center. Just ask Yvette Mulcahy, who greeted visitors at the Brielmaier House on the Town Green for 19 years until Hurricane Katrina came along. “Locals looked at the Brielmaier as a place for visitors,” says Mulcahy, a hostess at the new center. “They see this as a place for their history. In fact, it’s been very emotional for people viewing the exhibits and the videos. We’ve had to put out Kleenex.”

About those visitors, Part 2:
The Visitors Center has hosted visitors from throughout the United States, and from such countries as Canada, Germany, England, Australia, Colombia, Scotland, Ireland and Denmark.

Photos: Online promotional videos are in the works, but to see photos of the two centers, taken during dedication ceremonies this summer, click here.

News and notes

Water bill comparison: Biloxi’s monthly water bills dropped by as much as 13 percent thanks to lower payments to the Harrison County Utility Authority, and the decrease moved Biloxi’s bills to among the lowest on the Coast. To see a comparison of the monthly water bills for Coast communities, click here.

Home loan info: Champagne & Fearn Builders and Cornerstone Home Lending are teaming up for a Lunch and Learn program Tuesday, Dec. 6 at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Municipal Building in downtown Biloxi. The session will include info on so-called FHA 203k renovation and energy efficient mortgages, and ways in which these mortgages boost local economies. Space is limited for the free event. For more info about the 203k mortgages, click here. Those interested should RSVP Alyson Rossetti at

Bikers in Biloxi: Bike Biloxi will hold a Saturday Morning Breakfast Ride on Dec. 3 at 8 a.m. The ride will begin at the Bond Grant House, with breakfast at the Half Shell Oyster House in downtown Biloxi. Those interested in learning more about the event or Bike Biloxi should contact Main Street Director Kay Miller at 435-6339, or

Learning with Santa: Biloxi Excel by 5 will host “Come Learn With Santa” on Saturday, Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Lopez School at 140 St. John Ave. The free event will allow those up to age 5 to make a handprint keepsake, decorate a Christmas ornament, enjoy a Christmas story from Mrs. Claus, or take a picture with Santa. The program is co-sponsored by the city, Biloxi Public Schools and the Beau Rivage. Details: Susan Hunt 297-6808 or; or Cheryl Bell at 435-6296 or