A new harbor is under construction in Bay St. Louis, and as the project nears completion, businesses in the downtown area are getting more excited. A noisy lunch crowd fills the Blind Tiger Restaurant in downtown Bay St. Louis. Business is only expected to increase with the construction of the new Bay Harbor. Thomas Jenin, the owner of the Blind Tiger Restaurant, says, “Like I said, everybody is looking forward to that opening, and I think it’ll be good for the whole area.” Right across the street, a small bed and breakfast has just reopened after its destruction in Hurricane Katrina. The original structure was built in 1899. The owners are hoping the new harbor will be a boost for business.
Nikki Moon, the owner of Bay Town Inn, says, “Wow! I can't say enough good things about the harbor. I applaud the commissioners and the city for going forward with it. I think it’s just going to bring a whole new group of people to bay St. Louis.” The harbor is a $21 million project and it will have 163 boat slips. There is also a unique feature about this harbor that will make it different from all other harbors on the Gulf Coast. Once it’s complete, the Bay Harbor will be the only harbor where boaters can directly access a downtown area without crossing four lanes of traffic.
Lee Seal of the Harbor Commission says, “Pre-Katrina, it wouldn't be uncommon to see 30 to 40 boats down here anchored up and people would wade in. Now they don’t have to do that anymore. They can pull in, stay all weekend if they want. They can get fuel, ice, bait and come enjoy the hospitality we’d like to extend them here in Bay St. Louis.” The slips are in high demand, so to be fair, a lottery will be held to divvy up the spots. The grand opening of the harbor is scheduled for this July.