Weekend preview: Fins and fun at Point Cadet

The 17th annual Carl Legett Memorial Fishing Tournament takes place today through Sunday at Point Cadet Marina, offering a $25,000 guaranteed payout, a kid’s fishing rodeo, and plenty of sights.

In fact, look for Marlin Miller, one of the two chainsaw artists who created the city-commissioned Katrina sculptures, to be exhibiting his work and judging the huge Miss Gulf Coast Bikini Contest on Saturday evening. For details on the Legett tournament, click here.

For a look at the overall weekend entertainment lineup, courtesy of listings from the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, click here.

Get free tour of Biloxi Lighthouse on Sunday

Free tours of the Biloxi Lighthouse will be offered Sunday morning from 9 to 11 in observance of National Lighthouse Day.

During the tours — which will be offered by Lighthouse fans and city volunteers Brian and Amanda Margavich of Keesler – visitors should be prepared to traverse the 57-step stairwell inside the cast-iron lighthouse and climb the eight-rung ladder that leads into the lantern room.

“And once you’re there,” says Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway, “you’re looking at one of the most beautiful panoramic views you’ll find. We certainly thank the Margaviches for making these tours of our signature landmark available this Sunday.”

The lighthouse is typically open for tours Monday through Saturday mornings at 9, 9:15 and 9:30. Cost is usually $5 for adults and $2 for children under age 12.

“We may look to add more time to the tours later in the year,” Holloway said, “but right now, it’s just too hot to have the public inside this cast-iron structure.”

The structure stands 65-feet tall, from its base to the tip of the weather vane atop the lighthouse, and it is 14 feet, 10 inches wide at its base.

See the video: Just months before Hurricane Katrina, the city produced a 12-minute documentary in which Biloxi native and onetime Miss America Mary Ann Mobley tells the story of the hallowed landmark. To see the online version of the documentary, click here.

Lighthouse history: To print a detailed background of the Biloxi Lighthouse, courtesy of a pre-Katrina city brochure, click here.

Biloxi Visitor Center to open Monday morning

If you were among the throng that invaded the Biloxi Visitors Center a couple of weeks ago, you’ll have a chance to tour the center at your leisure beginning Monday.

The $13 million facility, which features nine multi-media exhibits and a small movie theater dedicated to the history of Biloxi and its people, opens Monday at 8 a.m.

It will have a seven-day schedule that will see it open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There is no admission fee to enter the Visitors Center.

“Since we had such a huge turnout for the sneak preview and dedication a few weeks ago, people didn’t have a chance to take their time and appreciate all of the multi-media exhibits,” said Biloxi Historical Administrator Bill Raymond. “Now, they can use the audio system to take a self-guided tour and soak up all of the history this city has to offer.”

Also open will be the center’s gift shop, which offers such items as Lighthouse-adorned glassware by Deborah Sackett, the new book, “The Seafood Capital of the World,” by historian Edmond Boudreaux of Biloxi; and a host of other Biloxi-related memorabilia.

Where in the world is d’Iberville?

Now that the Biloxi Visitors Center is complete, the city plans to turn its attention to the Lighthouse Parks portion of the site and return the statue of the French explorer Pierre Le Moyne Sieur d’Iberville to its pre-Katrina location, north of U.S. 90 at the Biloxi Lighthouse.

It was D’Iberville, who in his quest for the mouth of the Mississippi River, landed on the shores of present-day west Biloxi on Feb. 13, 1699, and named the area after a Native American tribe he had befriended, the Biloxi Indians. A statue of the explorer was dedicated on a site north of the Lighthouse in 1999 as part of the city’s year-long Tricentennial celebration.

“A number of people have wondered what happened to the statue,” Historical Administrator Bill Raymond said. “The statue survived the storm, but we didn’t want to leave it on the site during the construction. We’ll be hiring an architect to design a new platform, which will be similar to the last one, and we’re also pleased to report that we have all of the commemorative bricks and marble tablets that surrounded the statue.

“We hope to have everything in place by the Spring of next year.”

Post-storm site: You’ll find a photo of the statue site, as seen from atop the Lighthouse shortly after Katrina, in one of the city’s online photo archives. To go to that particular gallery,
click here.

News and notes

On school days, city finances, big buildings and museums: This week’s “City Desk” webcast reviews the news of the week: a new year for Biloxi Public Schools, the new budget for the City of Biloxi, and the issue of city funding for museums. To listen to the 14-minute program, click here.

City Council: The Biloxi City Council on Tuesday will hold another in a series of meetings to discuss the budget for FY 2012, which begins Oct. 1. The meeting, which is open to the public, begins at 9 a.m. at City Hall.