Learning about Deer Island
At the weekly Biloxi Rotary Club meeting, members took time to learn about some South Mississippi history. Alvin Baker still harbors fine childhood memories of his time living there, memories he shared at today’s Biloxi Rotary Club meeting.
These days, Deer Island is a hot spot for kayakers, fishermen, and nature lovers, stomping grounds for curious students and has even landed the occasional group of good Samaritans picking up trash and debris on the island.
Sometimes, campers pitch their tents for an overnight stay, but Alvin Baker called this island home for nearly three decades.
The Baker family called this island home for generations until Camille hit. The hurricane forced the family back to living on the mainland, but she didn’t wipe out their precious memories. Among them are memories of Alvin and his four brothers making the daily commute, rowing 12 minutes to get to school each day. Alvin only missed three days of school in the long haul. “After rowing back and forth many days and many years to Deer Island, I decided one day that I was going to row out without turning around. Well, I rode, which is about a half a mile or a little over a half a mile, I rode and when I turned around I grabbed the pier.”
As Alvin explained to members of the Biloxi Rotary Club, growing up on an island may seem like every boy’s dream, but the Baker’s lifestyle on Deer Island wasn’t always a fairytale. “Don’t think it wasn’t hard because we had a lot of hardships to overcome, one being traveling by boat to get to the main land and the other is the water. At the end the water went dry. We had problems with water. We had to pump it up and generating electricity wasn’t cheap.”
Baker no longer calls the island home, but Deer Island still plays a major role in the Baker’s family history, both past and present. “I go over there quite a bit. I have one brother and nephew that go over there about five or six times a week.”