Exploring the Rich Culture and Festivals of Gulfport, Mississippi

Gulfport, Mississippi is a city with a long and vibrant history. It was first inhabited by indigenous cultures for thousands of years, and later colonized by French settlers in the 18th century. The United States acquired the area from France in 1803 in the Louisiana Purchase, and through the Indian Expulsion Act of 1830, the US completed treaties to extinguish the land claims of the Choctaw and other tribes and transferred them to Indian territory. In the 20th century, Gulfport became an important port, with railroads from the interior stimulating its growth by providing a way to bring products to markets.

On March 19th, George M. Foote announced that the Andrew Carnegie Foundation was going to help build a Carnegie library in Gulfport. The city had agreed to provide counterpart funding for construction, as well as to commit to providing operational funding. In December 1993, the city annexed 33 square miles (85 km) north of Gulfport, making it the second largest city in Mississippi.

Unfortunately, Hurricane Katrina damaged more than 40 Mississippi libraries, destroying the Gulfport Public Library on the first floor and shattering windows on the second floor with no possibility of repair. Although Katrina's damage was much more widespread, it wasn't the most ferocious hurricane to hit Gulfport; Hurricane Camille, a Category 5 storm, hit Gulfport and neighboring communities on August 17th 1969 with sustained winds of 175 mph compared to Katrina's 120 mph sustained winds. Gulfport has a total area of 64.2 square miles (166.4 km), of which 56.9 square miles (147.4 km) are land and 7.3 square miles (19.0 km) (11.40%) are water. The city is home to the Island View Casino, one of twelve casinos on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

It also has nearly 6.7 miles (10.8 kilometers) of white-sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, making it a popular tourist destination due to its casinos, golf courses, water sports tourism and more. The Coastal Transit Authority offers bus service to the region with fixed-route and paratransit services, while major highways serve Gulfport including Interstate 10 running east to west through its central section. The Gulfport Police Department has 160 sworn officers and 80 civilians, as well as assistance from the US Coast Guard which operates 9 ships from Gulfport Harbor. Gulfport is home to many exciting cultural events such as Cruisin' The Coast (a week of classic cars), “Black Spring Break” and “Smokin' The Sound” (speedboat races). It also hosts an annual festival featuring Mississippi artisans, live music, food trucks and more. Additionally, Jackson hosts an annual St Patrick's Day event that includes a 5 km parade and music festival. Gulfport is a great place for visitors looking for an exciting experience full of culture and entertainment.

From its casinos and golf courses to its festivals and beaches, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city.